As we age, our needs change. Sometimes those changes can be accommodated by making a few small changes to our living environment instead of turning our eyes to outside care. That’s what aging in place is all about: making modifications to your home so you can stay there as you get older. There are many different ways to modify your home to make it aging in place friendly. In this blog post, we will discuss the most common aging in place remodeling projects, what you need to do to prepare your house for old age, and some other commonly asked questions you may be wondering yourself.
So let’s jump in!
What Is the Major Aspect of Aging in Place?
The most important aspect of aging in place is being able to safely and comfortably move around your home as you age, while still feeling ‘at home’ within your own four walls. This doesn’t mean your home has to be turned into a hospital, but rather that small changes can be made so you can keep living in the home you love.
This includes being able to enter and exit your home without difficulty, getting around from room to room, using the bathroom, and preparing meals.
It’s important that you feel like your home is still yours as you age. Making aging in place modifications can help you do that.
What Are the Benefits of Aging in Place?
There are many benefits to aging in place, both for the individual and their family.
For the individual, aging in place allows them to maintain their independence and autonomy. They get to stay in the home they love and continue living their life on their own terms.
Aging in place can also help reduce stress and anxiety levels, as well as depression. This is because the person gets to stay in a familiar environment and doesn’t have to worry about adapting to a new place. Social interaction in a familiar setting is still possible and can also help reduce these levels.
A 2010 AARP survey showed that 88% of seniors desired to stay in their own homes as long as possible. And 92% of the same seniors surveyed wanted to remain in their current community. That is a high percentage of people who do not like the idea of being displaced or uprooted from their known surroundings.
For the family, aging in place can provide peace of mind knowing that their loved one is safe and comfortable at home. It can also save money in the long run as nursing home care can be very expensive.
In fact, according to a 2021 Cost of Care survey, nursing homes can easily cost a family $9,034 per month! Making the necessary changes in your home for an aging in place alternative is a very desirable alternative for both you and your family.
What Is the Most Common Aging in Place Remodeling Project?
The most common aging in place remodeling project is installing grab bars.
Grab bars are a very important safety feature to have in your home as you age. They provide support and stability when getting in and out of the bathtub or shower, using the toilet, or getting up from a chair.
They can be installed near the toilet, in the shower, or near the entryway of your home.
What’s great about grab bars being the most popular and one of the more helpful modifications to your home, is that it’s extremely easy and relatively inexpensive to do yourself!
We do recommend having a professional install grab bars for your own safety, but if you do end up taking this project on yourself, just ensure that your grab bars can withstand a minimum weight of 250 pounds.
How Do I Prepare My House for Old Age?
There are a few different things you can do to prepare your house for old age. While there is a checklist of some more detailed changes for proper safety precautions, here are a few simple alterations that can be made with minimal effort
- Declutter and get rid of any items you don’t need. This will make it easier to move around your home and reduce tripping hazards.
- Rearrange your furniture so there is more open space. This will give you room to move around and make it easier to get in and out of chairs and beds. Plus, you might like the feel of more open space in the familiarity of your own home.
- Install grab bars in the bathroom and near any entryways. As we mentioned before, grab bars are a great way to provide support and stability when getting in and out of the bathtub or shower, using the toilet, or getting up from a chair.
- Add non-slip flooring in the bathroom and kitchen. This will help reduce the risk of falls, which are common injuries for seniors.
Again, these are all very simple and cost-effective modifications that you can make to your home without jumping into a complete remodel.
What Are the Three Adaptations That Can Be Made to a Home to Allow for Aging in Place?
Besides the preparations we already listed above, there are three adaptations that should be made to your home for aging in place if you want to provide as much safety as possible and ensure comfort is always provided.
- Widen doorways and hallways. This will allow for easier maneuverability around your home, especially if you use a wheelchair or walker. Even if you aren’t at that point yet, you don’t want to wait until it’s necessary. Especially if you’re looking to prolong your time in your own home.
- Install ramps. Ramps can be installed at the entrance of your home or anywhere there are steps leading up to another level. They provide a safe and easy way to get in and out of your home without the worry of falling.
- Add lever handles to doors. Lever handles are much easier to use than doorknobs, especially if you have arthritis or weak hands. They can be installed on both interior and exterior doors and will make it much easier to open and close.
These 3 changes will really go a long way in making again in place a comfortable reality.
What Things Can Be Done to Allow the Person to Age in Place Longer?
If you’ve made the recommended modification discussed above but still worry about having a limited time enjoying the comforts of your home, there are additional steps that can lengthen the aging in place process for you.
For instance, you may want to consider lowering light switches and thermostats. This way, you won’t have to reach as high and can avoid any unnecessary strain. You could also add a stairlift or wheelchair lift to your home. These devices will allow you to move around your home with ease, even if you can’t do it on your own.
Remodeling your bathroom to accommodate aging in place is another way to extend the time you’re able to live in your own home. This could include adding a walk-in bathtub or shower, a raised toilet seat, or grab bars.
And finally, one of the best things you can do to age in place is to get a home health aid. A home health aid can help with things like laundry, cooking, cleaning, and bathing. They can provide both physical and emotional support, which is so important as we age.
What Are Aging in Place Backer Boards?
Aging in place backer boards are a type of safety and reinforcement measure built into the walls of your home. They are designed to provide support in the event of a fall.
Aging in place backer boards are made of sturdy materials like plywood and are installed in strategic places around your home, such as near staircases, in hallways, or in the bathroom. Essentially, they are intended to be the anchor behind the drywall for grab bars, handrails, or other safety devices. So if enough force or weight is applied, the aging in place backer board will help to prevent the wall from collapsing.
They can be customized to fit your specific needs and can be installed by a professional.
What Is Aging in Place Services?
Aging in place services are designed to help seniors live independently in their own homes for as long as possible.
These services can include anything from home health aides and grocery delivery to transportation and housekeeping. Basically, aging in place services are there to make your life easier and help you maintain your independence.
There is a variety of aging in place services available, so it’s important to do your research to find the ones that are right for you.
Aging in place is a great option for seniors who want to maintain their independence. There are a number of modifications that can be made to your home to make aging in place possible, such as widening doorways and hallways, installing ramps, and adding lever handles to doors. Additionally, there are a variety of services available that can help make aging in place easier, such as transportation, grocery delivery, and housekeeping. There’s no doubt that aging in place is a great way to maintain your independence as you age.
If you’re interested in making your own modifications to start aging in place, please contact us today and we can walk you through all the options available to you, free of charge!