When faced with the choice of moving to a senior care facility, moving in with a loved one, or choosing to age in place, most of us would choose to stay in the home we love, among the things we know, and the memories that sustain us. Aging in place allows us to retain our independence and prevents us from feeling we are a burden to others. But with so many of us living in two-story, single-family homes and relying on cars to get around, staying in our homes as we age is a significant challenge.
One of the greatest challenges facing those who wish to stay at home is adapting to the change in mobility. Adapting our homes to help us get around requires an investment, but that investment is far less expensive than a move to a senior care facility. There are many things we can do to make our homes safer, more accessible, and that will help us to keep our independence.
- Investigate assistive living technologies that monitor your home. A 24-hour monitoring device can be activated if you fall giving you the assurance you need that help is on the way. Many companies that offer these services have enhanced options that will monitor other areas of the home such as the stove. For example, if your stove is left on for an extended period of time it can be turned off remotely.
- Evaluate access in and out of your home. For some, the height of the stairs leading into and out of the home can become too steep. Simply installing a ramp can make your home more accessible.
- Worried about climbing the stairs inside your home? Installing a chairlift can make it easy to access the second floor or basement once more. This is especially important for those homes where the washer and dryer are in the basement. A chairlift can be a much easier fix than relocating water lines and exhaust vents.
- The bathroom can be a particularly dangerous area as we age. Installing toilets that are just a few inches taller, handrails, a tub door, or an adjustable shower head can make it much safer for you to stay in your home.
- Those suffering from arthritis find that a simple change from doorknobs to lever handles makes a world of difference.
Simple changes like these can make a real difference in the ability to stay in our homes as we age. With changes like these, the loving support of family and friends, and the determination to age in place, many more aging Americans will be able to stay in the homes they love.
If you would like more information on aging in place, please contact the National Aging in Place Council.