You love your home, and you want to live there for the rest of your life. People’s housing needs change, though, as they get older. If you are interested in aging in place, there are several changes you should consider making to your home long before you need them.
As you age, your eyesight will probably decline. Go ahead and upgrade your lighting options to make it easier to see throughout your home. There are several places you should add extra lighting:
- Work areas
Older people also tend to have more mobility issues. They are more susceptible to falls. Adding slip-resistant tiles or carpet with a shorter pile can help prevent tripping. It is also a good idea to move light switches, electrical outlets and peepholes to a height that is easily accessible by a person in a wheelchair.
It’s a good idea to lower your kitchen cabinets to make them easier to reach as you’re aging in place. All appliances should be upgraded or moved to account for a decrease in strength, height or mobility. Consider changes such as smooth countertops so that items can be scooted across them. You can add inserts into each cabinet to limit the bending and reaching you have to do to get to its contents. Loop handles are simpler to grip. Trash compactors mean fewer trips to the dumpster.
There are a lot of options for homeowners who want to make their bathroom more accessible. Grab bars and railings should be placed throughout the room. A handheld showerhead is a must, as are lever-style faucet handles. The shower should be upgraded to include seating and an easy-access door.
All laundry appliances should be easily operated by a person in a wheelchair. Both washer and dryer need to be front-load models, and any storage needs to be adjusted to the correct height.
Even if you love your home as it is now, it may eventually need upgrades to accommodate aging in place. Adding these features gradually can help you plan ahead better.