Aging in Place: How to Stay in Your Home Longer

Aging in place
Hand rails help make a bathroom more accessible.

Aging is a natural part of life. People work a lifetime to create and maintain a home that they love. As time goes on, it may become necessary to make some physical changes to a home to support the changing medical needs of owners. Enjoy the comforts of your home longer with a few adjustments.

Have important rooms on the first floor. For many, it becomes more difficult to negotiate stairs and lift and carry loads of laundry, bags of groceries or larger items. In a multi-story home, make changes to have all of the often-used areas on the first floor. The laundry room, bedroom and main bathroom should be reconfigured to be on the first floor. Seniors can continue daily activities without having to walk up and down the stairs.

Upgrade the lighting in your home. If your eyesight isn’t as great as it used to be and you have trouble with dim lighting, consider installing more lighting in your home. Areas like kitchens and bathrooms are easy to add more, or brighter, lights to – consider adding under cabinet lighting, lighting in the bathtub or shower, and better lighting at your vanity.

Updating your home for old age
Pull-out shelves in the kitchen are easier to access.

Keep items easily accessible. Consider the shelving. Attempting to grab items that are just out of reach on shelves that are too high or low can pose a danger to the elderly. Mounting shelves on rollers help to reduce strain and allow homeowners to retrieve rear items. Corner areas are easier to reach into with pivoting and revolving shelves.

Adapt doorways and narrow hallways to the size of mobility devices. Door frames and hallways may need to be widened to accommodate walkers and wheelchairs.

Add graduated ramps and lifts to make getting into and around a home easier when mobility becomes reduced. Homes’ entries should be made wheelchair accessible with ramps where necessary.

Add railings and grab bars inside and outside of the home. Not only will this make it easier for you to navigate your home as you age, it will allow your friends and family to visit you, even if they have mobility issues. Installing an exterior railing can help visitors enter and exit your house with ease.

Create even surfaces throughout the home. Step-up and step-down door thresholds should be removed to avoid trips and falls. Having even surfaces from one area to another makes for less impediment to moving oneself and mobility-related devices. Old rugs may need to be removed and the installation of wood floors, non-slip bathroom flooring or new low-pile carpeting will reduce the potential of injury.

Hire out the maintenance tasks that you have trouble performing. Things like lawn mowing and snow shoveling are difficult to do for many people, let alone those who are aging and struggling with mobility issues. Eaves trough cleaning, exterior painting and garden maintenance are all things that can be hired out and they will greatly reduce your risk of falls, strains and other injuries from occurring.

Menno. S. Martin provides customized renovations to St. Jacobs, Ontario homeowners and families that support the changing needs of residents. Call us today and discover friendly, professional team members who can offer you realistic solutions to help you age in place.