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Tips for Aging in Place: Home Renovations

One topic regarding senior care that has become more popular as the elder population grows is aging in place, where seniors continue living at their own home as they age. According to a survey from AARP, over 77% of adults ages 50 and older desired to continue living at home. There are multiple reasons why the older population wants to age in place–ranging from the familiar comfort associated with their home to having independence. However, there may be some work necessary to support this decision of aging in place. Some homes may need modifications, as factors such as mobility can pose a problem to seniors living at home. Luckily, there are numerous renovations that can be done to a home to make it more senior friendly.

Bathrooms can pose an issue to those wanting to age in place due to mobility issues. As such, making changes to eliminate such problems is a great solution. Curbless showers are a relatively new bathroom trend, thanks not only to their seamless look but the accessibility they add. True to their name, curbless showers lack a curb, so the homeowner won’t have to lift their legs to get inside. This could be a perfect choice for those struggling with mobility by eliminating the risk of tripping on the curb. Smaller changes can also be made to make showering more accessible, such as adding in a grab bar inside the shower. This can help the homeowner have something to grab in the shower should they need. Handheld shower heads are another great addition for those with limited mobility, as this can aid in cleaning hard to reach places. Non-slip flooring could also be put into the bathroom to avoid slip and falls, such as vinyl flooring. Aside from making bathing tasks either, these bathroom renovations can also help avoid injury.

Moving to the kitchen, there are a handful of modifications that can be made for accessibility purposes. There are kitchen accessories that can be installed that aid in lifting up kitchen appliances such as a blender. Additionally, to easily access things in the kitchen, cabinets can be installed several inches lower than usual to avoid having to reach. It might be a good idea for the cabinets to have handles instead of knobs, as they can be easier to grasp than the latter. Non-slip flooring can also be installed in the kitchen to avoid falls.

Some other changes not pertinent to just kitchen or bathrooms can include changes to the home’s layout. This can vary depending on the homeowners needs, but can include things such as moving the placement of laundry appliances up or downstairs to be more accessible. Widening doors and passageways can allow for wheelchair traversal inside the home. If needed, an ADA compliant ramp can be installed leading into the home to avoid having to use stairs. Proper lighting is another huge factor. Vision loss is extremely common in the aging population; according to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), around 1 in 3 adults have some eye related medical issue by the time they reach 65. Due to this, having task lighting in the home can help immensely. Task lighting refers to having light for a specific task or purpose–such as having a light over the sink. This can help seniors safely accomplish various tasks in their home.

Aging in place can be achievable with the proper steps, allowing for seniors to live safely and comfortably in their own home. Renovations to age in place comfortably can also be a good financial investment–while there will be an upfront cost for the work, it may end up a financially sound decision in comparison to assisted living. What’s crucial once the decision is made to renovate the home is to have a contractor that will have the necessary conversation with the homeowners. With planning, these home renovations can not only make the adjustments to fit the homeowner’s needs, but to also make appropriate adjustments if the house ends up going on the market or eventually passed to family members. If you'd like to read more about aging in place and have more resources, check out this article on Providing families that have an aging loved one with proper resources and support is their objective--click the link below to read up on more about aging in place!

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