Aging in place is "the ability to live in one's own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level," as defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a concept that many people would rather push aside and deal with later because, let's face it, nobody wants to think about growing old.
However, especially with baby boomers, it's important to begin planning the renovations of your home now – unless you would rather spend retirement in senior housing, of course. Luckily for you, we've put together this guide on renovations you can do now to prepare for aging in place.
Your bathroom should be top of mind in your renovation checklist, as the slippery floors can lead to falls. The first thing you should do when planning the remodel of your bathroom is to consider installing ADA-compliant grab bars in the shower and next to the toilet to prevent slips and falls. Every second in the United States an elderly adult falls, making falls the number one cause of injuries and deaths among U.S. senior citizens.
One of the biggest hazards in the bathroom is often the bathtub. Seniors attempting to step over the tub can often lead to slips and falls that could easily be avoided with an updated layout.
One solution is to remove the tub altogether and replace it with a walk-in shower, so you could roll a wheelchair in if needed. This would also allow you to add a shower seat, so you don't have to stand while showering. If you'd like to keep the tub, however, you can also modify it into a walk-in tub to reduce the risk of tripping over the edge.
Leaving the home becomes harder and harder as you age, which is why many seniors would rather cook in the comfort of their own home than go out to eat. With that being said, it's important to upgrade your kitchen to prepare you for the amount of time you'll likely spend there.
Having smart appliances is a unique and practical way to make your life easier. Many today include voice commands that can be used to turn on or turn off appliances.
Another consideration is to create more room for wheelchair access by removing the island. Many kitchens, especially in older homes, tend to be smaller or U-shaped. Having enough room to enter and exit in a wheelchair is especially important when considering kitchen renovations.
Steps can be a huge problem for aging individuals who may be forced to use them multiple times a day. For the entrance of the house, you can have a ramp built to make it easier to roll a wheelchair in and out.
Installing ramps inside the home is a bit more difficult, however. One solution is to modify your home so that you can live on the first floor instead of having to use the stairs to get to your bedroom.
"What can I do if there's no bathroom on the first floor?" Well, for starters, you can install a stair lift for easy access upstairs, which would cost a fraction of the price of installing a new bathroom in the house.
Another option is to install an elevator in your home, but that would cost significantly more, and you'd need to be sure you have the space to install it in the first place.
START PREPARING YOUR HOME
There are many renovations that you should consider to prepare your home for aging in place. To learn more about aging in place design and to see the other personalized grab bar styles we offer for you, contact Great Grabz today.