More Americans are choosing to age in place instead of moving to a retirement center. Aging in place — which is continuing to live at home as you get older — has many benefits to the health and well being of seniors. They’re able to enjoy the support of family and friends in their surrounding communities and live in the familiarity of their own homes. According to the AARP, about seven out of 10 adults say they hope to continue to live in their present communities as long as they can.
But aging in place does present some challenges. Older adults also say that they’re concerned about safety issues and taking care of daily tasks as they continue to live at home while they grow older. Living at home can mean that they don’t have access to the same safety measures or physical and emotional care that they’d get in a retirement or nursing care facility. Fortunately, there are steps you can take steps to help your senior remain in the familiar surroundings of their home and while staying safe and being provided with emotional and physical support.
Home Design Tips to Assist Aging in Place
Store items that are used often in lower cabinets and drawers. Items that get less use can go in upper cabinets, but be sure your senior has a sturdy stepping stool to reach them.
Put the microwave on the counter instead of installed over the stove. Also, avoid storing anything in a cabinet above the stove — leaning over a hot stove to retrieve something is hazardous for those who may have trouble keeping their balance.
Consider installing a hands-free faucet.
Install a zero-clearance shower with built-in seats and benches.
Be sure to install grab bars next to the faucets and beside seating.
Install an adjustable height showerhead.
Install a front load washer and dryer and raise them about 12-15 inches above the floor.
If your senior lives in a multi-level home, install a laundry chute so they don’t have to carry laundry baskets up and down stairs.
If your senior’s bedroom is on an upper floor, move it to the main level if possible, or consider installing a stair lift.
Be sure a phone is right beside their bed, with nightstands the same height as the bed.
Install a ramp. Even if your senior isn’t in a wheelchair, a ramp is often easier to navigate than stairs.
Plant easy-to-maintain flowers and shrubbery, or hire a landscaping service.
Create an open floor plan with little to no obstructions. Make plenty of space between pieces of furniture, and clear all clutter from the home, especially in areas where your senior will be walking. Get rid of floor rugs.
Install bright but indirect lighting, especially in places like the bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen. Install motion sensor lighting outdoors that clearly illuminates areas such as the walkway from the car to the entrance door.
Replace round door handles with lever-style handles — arthritis and other health issues can make it more difficult to turn round doorknobs.
Widen doorways to 36 inches if your senior is in a wheelchair.
Install a smart security system that can be controlled through a smartphone. You might want to have access to it so you can be alerted to any alarms, doors that are opened, or to control the temperature inside the home. Check with the security company to see if the system can be controlled using large icons on a device like a tablet, so your senior will have an easier time operating it.
In-Home Care for Seniors Aging in Place
While aging in place provides many benefits for seniors, your older loved one may experience emotional issues such as loneliness, physical challenges such as keeping up with housework or errands, or health care needs after a surgery or hospital stay. Family members may find it difficult to meet all the needs of their senior who is aging in place due to living a long distance away or having a busy schedule that doesn’t allow them to assist their elderly loved one as often as they’d like.
In-home care is the perfect solution for a senior who wants the independence of aging in place. An in-home care professional can do everything from running errands, picking up groceries, making sure that your senior is taking their medication properly, to providing skilled nursing care after a surgery.
Mountain Home Care can provide all of these essential services and more. Our team of caring, compassionate professionals includes registered nurses, a foot care specialist, and senior caregivers with decades of experience. Call us today, and we can help you develop a comprehensive in-home care plan that will allow your senior the comfort of aging in place, while providing your family with peace of mind.
“Words cannot express my gratitude to Mountain Home Care for giving me the care I need and enabling me to stay in my home at this time of my life! My children live out of town, and they have more peace of mind knowing my needs are met by Mountain Home Care.” – Mrs. H., client