Aging in place refers to the desire to stay in one’s own home environment longer. Aging in place house plans is a phrase referring to designing an elderly individual’s dwelling to maximize the amount of time they remain in the home.
However, there is more to staying in one’s home than the desire to live there. Plans must be made, and precautions taken, ensuring aging individuals remain safe and comfortable in the environment, too. Talk to providers, but also contractors regarding measures that can be taken to facilitate seniors and to create a more accessible situation.
Stay in your home longer with these Aging in Place house plans and tips:
Assess the home environment realistically and be pragmatic about what you can and cannot do to make the home accessible and safe. It is predicted that the senior population- over 65- is expected to double by the year 2050; aging in place makes sense. It removes the hurdles related to finding adequate and affordable housing for seniors that want to stay right where they are.
Invest in Aids
Mobility aids improve access- it is just that simple. When making aging in place house plans, do not forget about important aspects like accessibility, as well as the mobilility devices and aids that may help. For instance, consider installing grab bars near prudent spots, like sinks and the toilet. Also, think about the future potential of stairlifts- they really can make a world of difference.
Tune in to Technology
Technology has really made the home environment a lot safer. Now, you can tune in and check-on seniors living in their own homes with video chatting and Facetime. Also, you can program things like thermostats and alarms- set it and forget it- to ensure seniors living independently are comfortable and safe.
Light It Up
Proper lighting can reduce the risk of nasty falls and injuries in any home. Make sure that your stairways and doorways are well-lit, with light switches at the top and bottom. Also, make sure to promptly replace burned-out bulbs to prevent blind spots- make the switch to LED for longer-lasting, cooler burning illumination.
Reduce the Risk
Speaking of reducing the risk of accidental injuries, fall prevention should be at the forefront of any aging-in-place house plans. After all, it is estimated that around 250,000 seniors fall and break their hip each year; furthermore, every one out of five falls among seniors results in broken bones and fractures. With statistics like these, it makes sense to pay heed to some tips that can prevent falls in the first place:
1. Declutter the home
First things first: declutter and clean up the home. Make sure there is a wide path through the entire home, with access to areas including the kitchen and bathroom. Clutter can be dangerous to a senior living alone- talk to them about lightening the load a bit.
2. Invest in decent flooring
Now that you can see the floor clearly, make an investment in some decent flooring. Carpet and rugs can cause people to trip- especially if they are wearing the wrong shoes. Consider smooth laminates or hardwood planking, when possible.
3. Dress appropriately
Speaking of the right footwear, make sure to avoid ill-fitting footwear, drapey clothing, or stocking feet. These can all be recipes for disaster for individuals with physical limitations, mobility issues, or disabilities. Take stock of what your loved one wears and talk to them about changes, if necessary.
4. Watch pets
Pets can be such a blessing and source of companionship, plus the therapeutic benefits of pet ownership have been shown time and time again. The only issue is that some pets can get underfoot and cause a senior to trip and fall. There are various ways to curb this- and to train the pet to stay put, but the easiest solution is to affix a bell to their collar. This works with any kind of pet and will signify that they are near, so the senior can steer clear.
Seniors living alone are most at risk of a fall; use these tips to help prevent accidents whenever possible.
Check-in with your loved one. As previously mentioned, technology makes it easy to do so. Don’t’ be intrusive, as the whole aim of aging in place is autonomy, but let your senior know that you are available and around. Talk to your loved one about allowing a neighbor to check-in or have contact information for a family in case of an emergency. It is all part of building a supportive community for the individual that is getting older.
Live on One Level
Does it make sense for a one-level living? Consider closing off the upstairs- or down- depending on issues of access and accessibility. You could plan this on a permanent or as-needed basis, but give thought to the first-floor living to reduce the risk of a fall when making aging-in-place house plans.
Focus on the Bathroom
When making changes and preparations to the aging in place house plans, pay special attention to the bathroom, in particular, when making modifications to the environment. Sadly, around 80 percent of senior falls occur in this area of the house. The reasons seem obvious- it is a wet and often slick environment- and many seniors may hurry when using their bathroom for bathing, grooming, or toileting. Regardless, a safer bathroom is one with low thresholds, wider doorways, grab bars, accessible handles, and a shower seat.
Hire Some Helpers
Remember that help is just a phone call away. Hire helpers that can fill the voids in your senior’s aging-in-place home plans. From running errands weekly to occasional skilled nursing visits, there are resources out there if you know where to look. If you have a supportive network of informal resources, like family and friends, start a rotating roster of visitors and helpers that may lend a hand.
Stay in Your Home Longer
Use these tips to ensure safety in the home for seniors- or anyone that wants to age in place comfortably. These suggestions can help reduce the risk of a fall and subsequent injury that could jeopardize aging in place, as well as cause further obstacles to live autonomously.