Choosing to stay?
As we grow older we may face a big question. Should we stay put and age in place or move out? Whether it is a question you are asking of yourself or regarding your aging parent, it is a difficult choice. If the final decision is to remain in the current home, there are ways to make the home function better and be safer for all.
Downsizing the quantity of things in the home is a great start. Creating a more open environment to allow for easier movement and safety is important.
There are other small changes that can be done to make the home serve you better as you age and allow you to safely stay put for longer.
- Make sure nothing is on a shelf higher than you can easily reach without a step stool.
- Put frequently used items at waist height, preventing back strain and the chance of falling.
- Change doorknobs to door levers to make opening them easier.
- Install night lights in bathrooms, hallways and even in the kitchen.
- Make electrical outlets accessible so they can be easily reached and extension cords are not needed.
- Add a chair or bench to use while putting on shoes.
- Replace original toilet seat with raised toilet seat with handrails.
For general safety:
- Remove throw rugs and any clutter on floor to prevent falls.
- Be sure all doorways and windows are easily accessible.
- Confirm someone at door can be seen, whether through a peephole or a security camera.
- Check stairs are non-slippery, well-lit and have sturdy handrails.
- Add grab bars in the shower and near the toilet.
- Place rubber mats in the bathtub to prevent slipping.
- Check smoke detectors are present and have working batteries.
- Check that threshold transitions between rooms are easy to cross.
- Consider adding motion sensor lighting to the outside of the house.
- Remove rocks, roots, and sidewalk bumps that could be trip hazards while walking outside.
This may seem like a lot of things to consider but there are professionals that specialize in helping people stay safely in their homes. A Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) can come to the home, evaluate the environment, provide recommendations for changes, and even give suggestions of people to help with the physical implementation of those recommendations.
Now that you have chosen to stay in your home, prepare it by doing some downsizing then working to make it safe and able to serve you well for the years ahead.
© 2021 Beth Giles