The CareGiver Partnership recently distributed a press release outlining home design considerations, safety technology and support to help seniors age in place.
Founded in 2004 by Lynn and Tom Wilson of Neenah, Wisconsin, the organization stresses the importance of finding the right tools and support network to make living at home a success. By incorporating certain design principles, telecare and monitoring, and assistive tools and support, they state that our loved ones can enjoy the health and well being that come with having a choice in care and living arrangements.
Some of those tools include:
Whether building a new home or remodeling a beloved house, look for builders that specialize in aging in place. Consult the National Association of Home Builders for assistance in finding a specialist or learning more about helpful home modifications. Some home modifications, such as adding safety features to a bathroom, can be done by anyone with a few handyperson skills, with relatively minor expense and effort.
Key considerations for home building or remodeling include:
- Using low-maintenance materials.
- Eliminating stairs wherever possible.
- Expanding doorways.
- Incorporating a multifunctional first-floor suite, with bedroom and bathroom.
- Installing levered faucets and easy-to-grab cabinet and drawer hardware.
- Including wheelchair-accessible sinks, counters and appliances.
- Installing grab bars in showers and near toilets, bath benches, and elevated toilet seats or safety rails.
- Incorporating bright lighting, handrails, and nonslip flooring without fall hazards like cords or rugs.
- Installing smoke detectors with strobe lights for the hard-of-hearing.
Monitoring and safety
Advances in technology allow many to age in place safely, while providing peace of mind to family members and caregivers. Consider equipping your loved one’s home with the latest in safety devices, including:
- Phones that include features like amplification, big buttons and talking caller ID.
- Emergency products like Guardian Alert, for 24/7 remote access to 911.
- Personal monitors that alert caregivers to falls or unassisted exits.
- Monitored, automatic medication dispensers, such as E-Pill, which will call, text or e-mail a caregiver if medication is not taken.
- Motion-detection devices that can, for instance, alert a family member if a loved one gets up at night to use the bathroom and doesn’t return to bed.
The CareGiver Partnership adds that a key factor to a successful aging-in-place arrangement is a network of support that includes proximity to family and social interaction, as well as convenient access to health care, financial, and other services, such as:
- National Aging in Place Council: offers resources to help seniors stay in their residences and take care of their spouses.
- ElderFriends: a volunteer-based visitation program.
- Meals on Wheels Association of America: an organization that delivers nutritious meals to seniors.
- SeniorResource.com: a website devoted to aging-in-place topics.
What other resources would you suggest? Let us know and we’ll discuss in a future post.