Would you prefer to remain in your own home as you grow older? Age can take a toll on our bodies, and once-safe dwellings can become hazardous in our golden years. If aging in place is one of your goals, here’s how to ensure your home helps you remain independent.
Address Fall Prevention
One of the biggest concerns for seniors who live in a traditionally styled home is fall prevention. Falling is a major risk, as some studies show a little over a third of seniors experience falls every year, and 60 percent of senior falls occur within their own homes. As HomeAdvisor explains, taking steps toward fall prevention is the best policy for older adults who want to remain in their homes, and ideally, this will involve both environmental and lifestyle changes.
Many of the home improvements seniors can make are both simple and inexpensive. For instance, older eyes aren’t able to switch between dark and bright spaces as easily as they used to, so ensuring lighting is even from room to room can help tremendously. Also, pay special attention to areas where you might leave a lit room and walk into a dark space, such as stairwells and hallways.
Slippery When Wet
Bathroom falls are pretty common since smooth, wet surfaces can make navigation more challenging. Grab bars can make a big difference, but many people drag their feet when adding grab bars, as they tend to believe they look institutional. Thankfully, there are many stylish designs available these days which can blend with your decor.
Look at Your Landscape
A safe home environment doesn’t end when you walk out the door. To ensure your safety when you’re coming and going, have at least one step-free entrance. If you have steps, consider adding a ramp for at least one entryway. Ramps not only help if you need assistive equipment like a cane or walker, but they also make it easier to do things like pushing a baby stroller or carrying groceries. What’s more, there are even aesthetically pleasing porch ramp designs that blend with landscaping and home style.
Also, think about coming and going at night. To help your eyes adjust, consider adding more lighting. HGTV offers some budget-friendly outdoor lighting ideas, such as battery-operated lanterns, solar-powered deck lights, and string lights. And don’t stop with your entryway.
Paying for Changes
If you’re on board with making changes but aren’t sure how to pay for them, there are many organizations that help seniors fund home improvements. Those eligible for Medicaid might qualify for HCBS Waivers, and there are grants available to seniors as well. Also, veterans can often receive special assistance. Low-interest loans are another option worth exploring, and sometimes local governments offer help to seniors who qualify. You can contact your nearby Area Agency on Aging for programs in your vicinity.
Adjust Your Lifestyle
Many people become sedentary as they age. Being less active can mean reduced strength and flexibility, which can contribute to falls and injuries. With that in mind, ensure that you stay as fit and active as possible. You can even do exercises designed to maintain your strength and balance to help avoid falls and prevent injuries.
If your goal is to stay in your own home as you grow older, start making changes. Adjust your home and lifestyle to help you stay safe. By being proactive, you can age in place comfortably.