Do you love your home and plan to enjoy it into your golden years? You’re not alone! The majority of adults over 65 plan to stay in their current home as they age and are making improvements that will keep their homes safe and comfortable for years to come.
Ideally, aging in place should not simply maintain your current quality of life but make it better wherever possible. Making adjustments to your home that increase accessibility and reduce the chance of injury is a great place to start. Consider the following enhancements to help you stay independent and thriving as your needs change.
The bathroom is the site of far too many accidents. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 235,000 people visit the emergency room each year due to injuries sustained in the bathroom. Falls on wet or uneven surfaces become more dangerous as you age. Consider the following simple updates to make your bathroom safer:
- Install grab bars by the shower and toilet.
- Raise the toilet to the most convenient height for you.
- Add functional elements such as removable shower heads and lower cabinets and shelves.
Sometimes, a complete bathroom remodel is the best option when you plan to stay in your home for a long time. If you can redesign the bathroom, consider the following:
- Installing a step-in shower that reduces fall risk and allows a wheelchair or walker to transfer easily over the edge.
- Raising or lowering the countertops to fit your height.
- Widening the bathroom door and adding extra square footage to the floor plan.
- Replacing flooring with non-slip materials.
- Transforming a ground floor half bath to a full bath.
Your bedroom should be one of your favorite places to retreat to. If possible, consider moving your master bedroom to the ground floor to avoid stairs. If it is not possible, consider converting a ground floor room and bathroom into a master suite. You can also make smaller changes to an existing master bedroom that have a big impact on your sleeping area:
- Ensure that carpets, rugs, or floor coverings are secure, especially around the edges, or remove them entirely.
- Install vertical grab bars for stability when getting in and out of bed.
- Upgrade lighting to make it accessible from multiple locations such as the bed and doorway, minimize glare, and increase ambient and task light levels.
Many things we take for granted now can become issues as we age. Large, heavy doors should be replaced with more manageable ones. You may even want to widen doorways to accommodate a wheelchair or walker. Smaller door updates can also make a big impact such as:
- Replacing doorknobs with lever handles so they are easier to grasp.
- Moving locks down to a more convenient level based on your height or the need for a wheelchair or scooter.
- Eliminating rises and steps in entryways.
- Illuminating the underside of ledges or steps.
Entrances and Exits
Entrances and exits are another important item to make your home more accessible and safer. Uneven surfaces can pose a challenge as well as a safety hazard. Consider the following updates to your entryway:
- Install graduated ramps in places with uneven surfaces or steps.
- Apply contrasting colors to indicate where there is a change in flooring material.
- Add non-slip surfaces around staircases.
- Install handrails on steps, ramps, and throughout walkways.
- Widen the entryway to allow for walkers, wheelchairs, or scooters.
It is important to remember that aging in place looks different for everyone. Your home is as unique as you are, and creating a well-adapted space means you can enjoy it into the future. Making gradual changes now will decrease the burden of doing multiple last-minute renovations.
When you’re ready to see how you can make your home work for you in the long run, schedule a free consultation with Brothers Services. Our Certified Aging in Place Specialists (CAPS) design experts will guide you through your options so you can create a space that you will love for years to come.