Most seniors over the age of 55 want to age in place. AARP reports that close to 90 percent choose to age at home over moving to a facility. It’s less costly than assisted living but is your home safe enough as you age?
To know for sure, I asked 10 aging experts at Seniorcare.com to tell us what to look for in the home to make sure it’s safe enough to stay. They provided excellent hints and tips plus simple solutions to enhance the home for the latter years.
• Do a falls prevention checklist and make the changes that reduce falling since it’s the number one cause of injury, It is the leading cause of a nursing home placement. Shannon Martin at AgingWisely.com
• Think accessibility. If you are in a wheelchair, what would you need? Wider door openings are a must. But how about the kitchen? Accessible cabinets with pull out drawers can make cooking meals easier. Could you get around the kitchen in a wheelchair? Kathryn Watson, FindHouston SeniorCare.com
• Simple solutions--remove throw rugs, install grab bars, and raise the height of the toilet. Other considerations are one-level housing, installing a no-lip shower stall, wood or laminate flooring, re-tile showers and add built-in lights. Shelley Webb, IntentionalCaregiver.com
• When househunting with my senior mom, I look for a one or no-step entry into the house--front and back, safe neighborhoods with walkable sidewalks. These have all been a big help to her. Kaye Swain, SandwichINK.com
• Start by hiding wires and cords to avoid tripping. Place your most frequently used items at an easy-to-reach level to avoid using a ladder. It’s a good idea to have a medical alert system just in case a fall does occur. Gjenes Belamide, BayAlarmMedical.com
• One of the greatest technologies today is home monitoring systems. Such services alert emergency personnel if one feels faint or shows signs of a heart attack, stroke or another medical event. David Mordehi, AdviseandProtectSCC.com
• Order a home inspection. Are there gas leaks? Out of date appliances? Does the heating or AC units need an upgrade? Find a person you can trust to help make these important decisions. A safe home will ensure the dream of what you want: To Be Happy at Home! Bryan London, BestCareJobs.com
• De-clutter and clean up! When the house is messy, it is a health risk, plus it’s depressing. After cleaning up, they may realize they have room for a housemate which would help will bill paying and companionship. Laurie Miller, AppleCareandCompanion.com
• By employing innovative age-in-place technology like medication reminders, mobile doctors, and sensors that monitor appliances, go to the bathroom, or even when a person heads out the door. Evan Farr, FarrLawFirm.com
• Downsize. My parents struggled with their ‘stuff’ (cars, homes, lawn services, etc.). When dad passed, my mom had a hard time managing all the operations and upkeep. The kids stepped in to help consolidate, organize and delegate. Elizabeth Miller, SavvySandwicher.com
Carol Marak is the editor at SeniorCare.com. She’s earned a Certificate in the Fundamentals of Gerontology from the University of CA, Davis. Contact Carol at Carol@SeniorCare.com.