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Aging in Place – 4 Tips to Make the Home Comfortable, Safe, and Accessible

Aging in Place – 4 Tips to Make the Home Comfortable, Safe, and Accessible

In life, some things are inevitable, and the passing of time is one of them. While we can’t do anything to stop the passing of time and growing older, that doesn’t mean that we need to resign ourselves to the fact that our twilight years are going to be restrictive, painful, and difficult. 

For many, the thought of leaving their home and growing old in a care/nursing home is considered a fate worse than death, which is why so many people opt for aging in place. Aging in place literally means growing old in your own home, and while it can be challenging there are things you can do. 

Whether you’re planning for your own future or are looking to help a loved one grow older in comfortable surroundings, here are 4 aging in place tips to make the home safe and accessible. 

Ensure there is at least one exit/entrance without steps

People often assume that it’s only wheelchair users who are unsuitable for steps. The truth of the matter is that, as some people grow older, they find that their mobility becomes so limited that even walking up a step is challenging.

To make life easier for coming and going, make sure there is at least one entrance/exit that does not have any steps. Not only will this make coming and going easier, it is also safer in the event of an emergency where the property needs vacating quickly. 

Try to keep the floor even and consistent

Another handy tip for aging in place is to keep the floor of the home even and consistent. 

Elderly people, or people with limited mobility in general, are at a greater risk of tripping over if the floor is uneven or inconsistent. 

Say for example, one room has a carpeted floor, yet the next has a wooden floor, there is the risk of a slip/trip happening as the elderly individual walks from one surface to the next by entering another room. 

Ideally, other than kitchens and bathrooms which are best tiled for hygiene reasons, try to keep the same flooring throughout the home from one room to the next, and make sure it’s even and level. 

Arrange for service providers such as cleaners or gardeners

As people grow older, everyday tasks like cleaning and gardening become more laborious and more painful. Elderly people are at risk when they attempt these things, or they may simply be too tired or in too much pain to do them. In these instances, it pays to hire service providers. 

If the patient has a large garden, they may have taken pride and joy in it, so it would be a real shame to allow it to become overgrown. Rather than having them attempt to keep up with the landscaping however, why not arrange for a landscape gardener to come once a week or so? 

Keeping the house clean is also difficult, so arrange for a cleaner to come once or twice per week perhaps, just to keep on top of things. 

Install a shower seat and grab rail

Showering when older is also difficult, especially if the patient has difficulty standing unaided. If so, then a shower seat is very useful. A shower seat is designed to sit securely in the shower, allowing people to sit down and shower, rather than stand up.

A grab rail securely attached to the wall will also help them to safely pull themselves up and stand up and sit down to bathe themselves. A slip in the shower could be fatal, so it is strongly recommended that you install grab rails and shower seats. 

Final thoughts

As you can see, aging in place is challenging, but it can be done, and it can greatly improve the quality of life for all involved. 

Providing it’s safe to do so, there are countless things you can do to improve the quality of life for an elderly individual who wishes to age at home and maintain their independence in the process. 

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