As we all get older I’m sure our main desire is to stay in our home as long as possible. We want to be surrounded by the things we love: our pets, our memories, our neighbors and everything that is familiar to us. It’s hard to think about having to move out of the homes we cherish! In this article we are going to give you some great tips to keep you living happily and safely in your home for years to come.
I think the best place to start with any aging-in-place home modification is the heart of the home, the kitchen! The kitchen is where so many of us spend most of our time and making a few simple changes can allow a person to remain at home longer, with more independence.
The easiest place to start is your lighting. Replacing older low wattage lights with newer, bright white LED bulbs and adding additional lighting around the kitchen can help when eyesight isn’t what it used to be. Improved lighting can help an older person read recipes and enable them to grasp items with better confidence, avoiding spills and broken glass. The better the visibility in the kitchen, the less risk of injury.
A more substantial change but one that might really help, is adding a slide-out workspace at the counter that is wheelchair friendly. Changing out your old sink for a shallower one, 6” depth preferably, helps reduce the need for painful leaning over. Appliances can also be raised or lowered to make them convenient and safe. Adding lazy-susans to cabinets can easily help you reach items without having to bend low to find them. Lastly, replacing your faucet with lever-style hardware will make it easier and less painful to use. It can help make adjusting water temperature easier to avoid burns on fragile skin.
The other room in your home where modifications could allow you to age-in-place longer is your bathroom. The simplest way to start making changes on your own is to remove all the bathroom rugs. Rugs around the sink and toilet are the number one cause of falls in bathrooms. There are alternatives to bathmats. One idea is a textured tape around the bathtub for when a person gets in or out. Water on the floor is another major concern, especially if you’ve removed your floor mats. Installing grab-bars in certain areas of your bathroom can make moving around much safer.
The biggest changes in the bathroom would require a more major renovation but would be worth the fuss in the end. Installing a curbless shower is the safest way for an elderly person to bathe and can even be made wheelchair accessible. You can have a bench installed and a detatchable shower-head that can be adjusted in height for whether you’re sitting or standing.
Renovating your home might feel extreme but if it helps you live at home safely, for longer, it is well worth the investment and starting out with our do-it-yourself ideas is a great place to start.
Kuhn Construction is a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist and has aided countless families with home modifications to keep their loved ones at home longer. Never hesitate to reach out with any questions you might have as they can come do a free estimate or help you with ideas on how to stay in your home as you age. You can reach us anytime at 314-966-5846 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.