Aging in place is a goal for seniors across the country. Many of us want to live out our lives in the home of our choice, whether our lifelong home, the home where we raised our children or a more accessible, easier to maintain home near loved ones or a favorite locale.
There are many modifications that we can make to whichever home we choose to age in place. Caregivers can help make these modifications for their senior loved ones to be sure that they are safe and able to maintain independent function.
Home Modifications for Aging in Place Seniors
- Lighting – be sure there is adequate lighting in the stairways, landings and hallways to prevent trip and falls. Also check adequacy of outside lighting including possibly making existing lighting motion sensitive for after dark needs without a switch.
- Handrails – maintain handrails so that they are firmly in place, install additional rails if they are not in place on both sides or at the correct location including on outside porches and entryways.
- Floor surface – update the flooring to be sure all surfaces are non-skid, reduce contrasting colors if dementia is present, remove throw rugs, repair any loose or missing boards or tiles, tack down carpeting, and remove clutter to prevent falls.
- Stair lift – consider installing a stair lift. This is a chair that allows the seniors or any one with decreased mobility to sit in a chair usually with a seat belt to ascend/descend the stairs in comfort and safety. This device is not generally covered by Medicare but may be worth the purchase price to allow senior loved ones to remain independent and safe at home.
- Entryway – modify the front entry door to remove stairs and widen doors to make it accessible for the future.
- Home monitoring technology – install home monitoring devices that can alert family members and first responders if a problem occurs. There are devices that track usual patterns of daily activity and can let a caregiver know if your senior’s activity changes which may signal a problem.
Some of these tips require more than do-it-yourself skills and may require the use of a handyman or construction pro. There are numerous quick fixes that you and other family members can accomplish to make living at home safer and easier for your senior loved ones including level style faucets and door handles, motion controlled lights in the home, programmable thermostats, grab bars, hand rails, and home seniorization changes.
You may want to consult with a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) to plan larger modifications to be sure you are making all the most effective alterations that are needed to keep your senior safe.
There may be some costs associated with home modifications for aging in place, but the improved safety and prevention of falls which could lead to loss of functional ability will far outweigh the costs.