Aging in Place – Staying Put and Staying Safe!
You may have been having a hard time seeing the dials on the stove lately or perhaps you slipped on the stairs the other day and threw your kids into a tizzy. While you may still be able to function perfectly well on your own, thank you very much, your home probably isn’t as safe as it could be.
Before you pack up and move, check out these minor modifications that will help your home meet your changing needs and allow you to remain there longer and more safely while aging in place!
- If climbing stairs or walking is an issue. Turn a room on the ground floor of your house into a bedroom, and add a ramp with handrails at the front door. Get rid of loose area rugs and add slip-resistant treads to all of your steps. Make sure your door thresholds are no more than ¼” high.
- Do you have balance problems? Put a bath seat in your tub or shower, along with grab bars near the bath and toilet. Make sure you have handrails on both sides of any flights of stairs (but avoid steps if you can) and all clutter is cleared from pathways. Carry your cell phone at all times in case of a fall.
- Do you have trouble bending? Elevate your toilet as well as appliances like your dishwasher, washer and dryer, and oven. Avoid refrigerators with freezers at the bottom. Keep grabber tools in every room of the house. (These handy devices are also great for getting to items on those high shelves.)
- If your vision is impaired. Increase the wattage of all your light bulbs and also keep your outside walkways and entrances well lit. Use tactile dots on appliance controls. Paint your steps a color that stands out from their surroundings (painting the edge of the step a different color also makes it easier to see).
- Do you have problems hearing? Install an ultra-quiet dishwasher to reduce background noise. Turn up the volume on your phones. If that doesn’t work, connect an external flashing light to home phones or turn on the LED flash on your cell phone. Make sure your smoke detectors are equipped with strobe lights.