“There’s No Place Like Home!”
As we observe our parents aging, it’s hard not to worry about their safety. When I was a young girl, my mother and I would take walks down the beautiful streets of Portland, Oregon. I had to skip in order to keep up with her long and strong strides. Now, I take pauses so she can catch up with me. Reversal of roles is slowly creeping up, so making sure she’s safe at all times inside and outside of her home is my first priority.
According to AARP’s “Aging in Place,” 90% of seniors older than 65 would like to remain in their homes, in familiar surroundings, where they age gracefully and thrive for years. Elite Eldercare NoVa™ understands the importance of being prepared and safe while aging in your home! We’re here for you!
Here are 5 Quick tips to help with your ” Independence Renovation! “
1. Update doors and doorways
At any age, you want to be sure you can maneuver from room to room without issue….
- Replace doorknobs with levers, which down easily
- If possible. keep door frames at 36 inches (or more) wide to allow wheelchair access
- Zero threshold doors are easiest to navigate for those in wheelchairs or using walkers
- Install a ramp ( Add slip-resistant material to prevent accidents) to at least one entryway into the house
2. Add accessible outlets and switches
The most accessible homes have easy-touch light switches about 42 inches off the ground. Ample electrical outlets throughout the house can handle any necessary medical equipment; outlets should be 18 inches from the floor for optimal accessibility.
3. Modify stairways.
To allow for the possibility of a chairlift in the future, stairways should be four feet wide. The steps should be deep enough to accommodate the entire foot, and you’ll want to install treads.
4. Install grab bars and handrails.
One important way to prevent accidents is to install handrails on both sides of stairways. In the bathroom, put in grab bars by the toilet and in the bathtub and shower. A tub transfer seat can be useful, though the best option is to remove the tub altogether and instead make sure the shower is safe to use.
5. Add light.
Because eyesight tends to worsen with age, it’s a good idea to add more and brighter lights in the house, for better visibility.
Aging at home provides us with independence, maintaining a personal connection with our communities and friends. Why would anyone want to give that up!
Elisa Denise Kourouma
- AARP’s Aging in Place 2011
2. Gilbert Guide 5 Ideas to Make Your home more Age-Friendly by Charlie Naider