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Prepare Your Home for Aging in Place with These 9 Changes

Do you think your home is safe and comfortable enough to enjoy your senior years? If you have felt that moving around your own house is getting harder by the year, you probably need to start making some design changes.

Many homeowners have realized this too late. In fact, only 1 percent of houses are said to have a favorable design for all life stages. Therefore, it is now time that you put the long term into perspective and plan how to make a few helpful modifications in the layout of your residence.

Whether you are living on your own and are approaching your golden years or your have an elderly loved one who is staying with you and is requiring home care, our tips below will be handy in improving the level of safety and comfort in your house.

1. Entrances and Exits

To begin with, you have to start with all the doors that lead in and out of your residence. Are these readily accessible to the elderly, guests, and other family members? You have to make sure that there will be no steps leading to the doorway. If there are, these could cause falls and other accidents. Remember that older people tend to have more difficulty with balance and mobility. So it’s better to replace steps with ramps.

2. Bathrooms

If necessary, redesign with convenience and fall prevention in mind. Install railings or handlebars especially if you have wheelchair-bound relatives. This will help them move around with lesser supervision and give them more privacy.

Moreover, make the sink, toilet, and shower accessible to all family members regardless of age, height, and mobility. Design a door that allows an opening of 32 inches, as well as, a curbless walk-in shower area for easier access.

3. Kitchen

The cooking area usually has little room for foot traffic and several high cupboards for cookware and dining ware. However, that type of kitchen is not ideal for those who are aging in place.

Whenever possible, have an open design and add counters with varying heights between the measurements of 32 inches and 42 inches. Also include pull-out shelves and open shelving to make storage easily available.

4. Open concept

Having grown in popularity throughout the years, this type of layout maximizes the use of space. Family and guests are able to move around the house more freely without the hassle of navigating through doors and hallways.
This offers greater freedom and flexibility in furniture layout. Plus, it eliminates unnecessary rooms that use up the space so you get to have more spacious interiors.

5. Bedroom

When the sleeping quarters are on the second floor, then will increase the chances of falls, which may result to grave consequences. Avoid such accidents and opt to make a bedroom on the first floor instead. Not only is this suitable for the elderly, but also for those who have a new baby.

6. Windows

Since poor eyesight is a common problem for those who are aging, then you will need a good source of lighting. Apart from adding fixtures such as lamps and overhead lights, having larger windows offers a more sustainable source that can help you save on energy costs. Not only will this allow natural light to come into your room, but also allow a good view of the outside where one can watch loved ones play in the yard or enjoy looking at flowers and trees. For some privacy or to control the amount of sunlight coming in, you may opt for draperies or blinds.

7. Outdoors

Aging individuals do not have to stick to staying indoors even when mobility becomes a challenge. They can still enjoy fresh open air and relish the serenity that nature alone offers. In fact, spending time outdoors can even be helpful. Gardens, for instance, aren’t just great for enjoying a pretty view. These are also therapeutic places where one can meditate, exercise, and relax. Plus, if you plant vegetables and fruits, they can be a source for healthy, organic food perfect for a healthy diet for seniors.

To avoid falls and accidents, add preventive design features. Covered entrances, for example, will stop water and snow build-up, while wraparound decks will give access to entrances. Ramps can also make it easier to get outside.

8. Doorknobs, outlets, and switches

Place the switches and power outlets at an ideal height and at appropriate locations around the house. Make sure that these are easily accessible by adults even while seated.
Change the doors with ones that have a lever instead of keeping the usual knob mechanism. This is easier to manipulate, especially by someone who may have to use a closed fist due to arthritis or injury.

9. Inventiveness

Apart from the points mentioned above, you have to consider your lifestyle and that of your family’s too. When making design modifications, remember to always make innovative adjustments. Look for unused space around your house and see what you can potentially do there. Furthermore, you can also improve and re-purpose an old room to suit your lifestyle needs.

These 9 home renovation ideas will ensure safety not just for you, but also for your loved ones as they age. However, make sure to first consult with a medical professional if aging in place is the best option for you or a family member. There are instances when it will be safer and more comfortable to stay in an aged care residence. Make sure you choose the best facility by doing thorough research and reading helpful reviews, such as the ones we post on our website.

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