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How To Modify Your Home To Help You Age In Place Safely

We are pleased to share a guest blog with you today. Jim Vogel started as a means to provide resources to seniors and to adult children and caregivers who are caring for senior parents. He is passionate about spreading awareness to improve senior living. 

How To Modify Your Home  To Help You Age In Place Safely

Aging in place is the idea that you can grow old in the comfort of your own home, without having to move to a retirement home, health care facility, or family member’s house. It is something the majority of Americans aspire to, yet very few are thinking about the necessary changes they may have to make to make it possible.

The good news is these changes don’t have to be particularly drastic or expensive. A few smart modifications can be enough to make a house safe and comfortable for a senior, allowing them to stay at home and live independently.

Accommodating A Wheelchair

If your mobility is decreasing and you think you may need a wheelchair more often in the future, you need to make changes to your home as soon as possible to allow this. For starters, your home should be single-story. While stair lifts make it possible for wheelchair users to navigate various floors, you would have to ask yourself whether this is something you’re happy to deal with every time you need to access your bedroom.

Many houses are built on a raised foundation and require climbing a short set of stairs to enter. Unlike a full staircase, this is something you can counter quite easily by installing a ramp.

You also need to consider whether your home’s doorways and passageways are wide enough to comfortably accommodate a wheelchair. If not, you have a few options for widening your doorways, most of which can be DIY’ed by a handy family member.

Finally, your floors also need to be wheelchair-friendly. Thick carpets are a no-no, while any surface that is hard and smooth is ideal, as long as it isn’t slippery. The floor transitions between rooms should be completely smooth with no bumps on thresholds.

Eliminating Trip and Slip Hazards

According to the CDC, one in five falls causes a serious injury. With seniors being particularly susceptible to falling due to a variety of factors, avoiding trips and slips is the biggest safety priority for aging in place.

Start by installing grab bars in the bathroom, as this is by far the most dangerous room in the house for accidents. This will make getting in and out of showers and baths much safer, and is a small and straightforward project.

Next, you will need to carefully evaluate your house for tripping hazards. Here are the main things you should be watching out for - especially in busy passageways - and what to do about them:

  • Loose cables and cords - Tape down or organize with cable ties
  • Excessive clutter - Declutter your house or improve storage solutions
  • Furniture packed closely together with not much room for moving - Remove or rearrange to allow for comfortable passage
  • Rugs and carpets with upturned edges - Tape down with rug tape
  • Rugs and carpets without grip on a slippery floor - Tape down with rug tape
  • Poor lighting - Install new fixtures, replace with brighter light bulbs
  • Cracked, broken, or raised bricks or stonework in the yard - Repair and resurface

If you aren’t sure what areas in your home pose a potential hazard, consider bringing in a professional remodeler to assess your home. Lincorp/Borchert is a CAPS (Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist) remodeler, meaning they have the certification and accompanying experience necessary to ensure that you remain safe and secure in your home as you age.

These are some of the modifications you can undertake to help you age safely. Focusing on preventing falls and enabling wheelchair access is a great place to start, even if you haven’t yet started having problems with mobility. Being proactive means that you are prepared for any developments in your health and you are being smart about your plans to age in place.

Image via Pexels

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