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  • Jackie Mayo

Accessible Ideas for Aging in Place

Many seniors want to remain in their forever homes as they age. Sometimes this can be difficult due to a few factors. Their house is likely not able to meet their physical health needs in its current state. Thus, some renovations are in order.

When looking at what needs to be done to preserve your autonomy as you age, some things to consider include the layout of the house, the access from the exterior of the house, and additions that will make life much easier for an independently mobile senior. Gadgets, tools, and appliances that make accomplishing tasks simpler should also be included in planning for aging in place. Preserving autonomy as you age can be done, but it will take some preparation to get there.

One of the most challenging aspects of maintaining mobility for the elderly is transportation. For most seniors, continuing to have transportation independence is important. So, it is a good idea to look at the options you have for making

vehicular mobility possible for you. Be sure that you have a vehicle that is easy for you to get in and out of without assistance. Small cars might be great on fuel, but oftentimes they make it hard to get out of, especially if you struggle with knee or back issues. Something that is high enough from the ground that you can comfortably get into is key. If you have a

wheelchair or walker, getting a vehicle with storage space in the back will be important to you. And the best option would be to invest in having a wheelchair rack installed or a wheelchair access ramp into a minivan. For some seniors, driving becomes a challenge as well. As you get older, your reaction time slows and your decision-making tends to become more hesitant. This makes seniors wary of continuing to drive. The next best option would be hiring a driver, be it through a local taxi service, Uber, or Lyft. Having a few options will make running errands, shopping, and reaching medical appointments a

little more hassle-free.

Household renovations are another part of preserving autonomy. You need your forever home to be accessible to you and it should be a safe environment. Everything from the driveway path and front door to your stairs and bathtub needs to be easy for you to navigate and safe for you to do on your own. For walkways, make sure you have a smooth and level path, and ramps that are at a 1-inch incline. Opt for a material that will not get slippery, such as concrete that does not have a smooth finish. Your door handles should be easy for you to grip, so look at replacing your rounded handles with ones easier to open. Doorways should be a minimum of 36 inches for easy wheelchair access, and any doorframe strips on the floor should be removed to avoid tripping. Any single or double stairs you can evaluate adding an elevator, platform lift or stair lift for easier access and to

lessen the chance for falls. If you have a second, or even third floor, ensuring that you have a secure railing will go a long

way. Opt for slip-resistant floorings, like luxury vinyl or linoleum, for easy-to-clean choices. Anything you can do to minimize the potential for falls and make cleaning easier will take the stress off of you and let you enjoy aging in place in your forever home.

The kitchen and bathroom are major rooms in a house and should be easy to maneuver through and utilize independently. For your kitchen, make sure that the countertop height is comfortable for you and made of a material that is smooth and easy to clean without lots of scrubbing. Waist-height large appliances like the stove and dishwasher will save

you from putting unnecessary strain on your back from bending. In your bathroom, you should focus on having a slip resistant floor and easy-to-access shower or bathtub. And be sure to add grip strips inside the shower or tub to help you avoid a fall. A walk-in bathtub is often easier to install than you might think and can minimize the potential for falling from entering or exiting your tub.

And for both your kitchen and bathroom, lighting is an important aspect. Having a well-lit workspace or bathroom aids in minimizing the risk for injury.

Call Bill today for an appointment to come and assess your home environment.

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