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Home Accessibility for Aging in Place
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Home Accessibility for Aging in Place

 

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The majority of seniors would prefer to age in place in their own homes. In order to do this, most people have to make modifications around the house to help with things such as impaired mobility caused by aging. Many of the things you can do are simple; however, some of the renovations require a major investment. In the end, it may be smarter to move to a new home that comes with the accessibility features you need. 

Read on to learn more. 

The Bathroom

Move over, kitchen-- the bathroom is now considered the most dangerous room in the house. This is especially true for seniors. The slippery conditions of a bathroom create the perfect environment for a fall. Every second of every day in the United States, a senior adult suffers from a fall, making falls the number one cause of injuries and deaths from injury among older Americans. 

Installing grab bars that you can grasp when maneuvering inside the bathroom can help prevent falls. You can prevent dangerous falls in the tub by installing a shower bench so you can sit safely while you bathe. Non-skid strips in the tub are an extra safety measure that only costs you pennies. Finally, if you suffer from arthritis in your hands and wrists, trading out your faucet handles and doorknobs for levers can prevent undue strain. 

The Stairs 

You may think of ramps as something only people in wheelchairs need. However, if you have stepped in or around your house, you may find they become hard to navigate as your skills and reflexes deteriorate with age. It’s an inevitable change for all of us-- breakdowns within brain connections cause your physical response times to slow. Being proactive by installing ramps over steps in your home can help prevent falls, which we’ve already established as a very dangerous threat to a senior’s health and physical wellness. Make sure the ramps have handrails and a non-slip surface for extra security.

Should You Move? 

If your home is quite large, there is a good chance you don’t need all that space if you want to age in place there. Not only is it difficult to get around a house that has multiple stories and excess room, but it’s more for you to keep up with. Moving to a smaller house cuts down on maintenance along with costs including insurance, taxes, and utilities. For these reasons and more, many seniors decide to downsize

Downsizing may be right for you if you can make enough money selling your current home to cover your new one (check out this home-value estimate from Redfin). A great idea is reviewing listings in your area to get an idea of what it might cost to buy a new home and what you could possibly make selling the one you live in. A lot of that has to do with how your local real estate market is doing. 

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The majority of seniors prefer the idea of aging in place compared to having to relocate to an assisted living facility. In order to retain this independence, it’s important to make modifications around the house to ensure you can do so safely. Falls are the most common cause of injuries and deaths from injury among senior Americans, so many of the changes you make should keep that in mind. Installing grab bars and a shower bench in the bathroom can mitigate the risk in that room. Placing safety ramps over stairs can also make your home easier to get around even if you don’t use a wheelchair. If your home is very large and perhaps too perilous, it may be a smart option to let it go in favor of relocating to a smaller house. If you can sell your home for more than a new one would cost, it’s a serious option to consider. 

Image credit: https://hollistics.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/cropped-HolisticHealth-Logo-4.png

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