Aging in place, otherwise known as staying home for as long as possible, is what most people want for their lives. They want to be independent, comfortable, and in control of their circumstances and surroundings, regardless of the changes that growing older may bring.
If you or someone you know would do anything to stay home, following these house rules are bound to obliterate all plans of staying put:
- Let the phone ring when your kids are calling. This is a surefire way to throw your adult children into panic and paranoia, followed by planning your move to a senior living community, or one of their homes, immediately.
- Move furniture & DIY (do-it-yourself). The doctor said not to bend, lift, or strain to pick up heavy items. But if the living room couch just doesn’t look right in that corner anymore, or you’ve got to take a look at that record player on the top shelf, don’t call your grandsons to come help you… it only wastes time.
- Slide down the banister. If it’s too difficult to get up and down the stairs without risking a fall, by all means — ditch the cane, throw away the information your son gathered about installing a stair lift, and go for a ride like you did when you were 12.
- Keep your doors and windows open/unlocked. This is especially effective when done overnight.
- Don’t put any lights on when you need to use the bathroom at night. It’s a quick and easy way to cause an unnecessary fall, especially since you’ve been collecting the week’s laundry and mail in the hallway.
- Get rid of the grab bars, non-slip rugs and mats in the bathroom/shower. Isn’t your balance better when the surfaces below you are in their most slippery state? And you keep bumping your head on those grab bars; they’re more harmful than helpful, in your opinion.
- Don’t throw out anything in the fridge, pantry or medicine cabinets. Someone might be able to use those expired antidepressants and moldy peaches.
- Refuse to learn how to use computers, tablets and cell phones. You want to maintain your privacy, right? Isolating yourself and cutting off new means of communication is a good way to show your independence.
All joking aside (Happy April 1st!), we offer many useful tips and resources for successful aging in place here at the 101 Mobility blog. Check out the posts and help yourself or a loved one make their stay-at-home-for-as-long-as-possible dreams come true!
Also, if an older loved one is truly having difficulty managing household tasks at home (i.e. laundry, cooking, cleaning, etc.), consider bringing in home care help. It’s a great alternative to full-time residential care. Learn more here.
Whether you are moving into a new home or are making modifications to your current home, choosing the best features can seem overwhelming. When the goal is to choose design features that will help you to “age in place” with comfort, ease, and mobility, the task can seem even more challenging. For many Baby Boomers, the desire to create a home that will meet their needs far into the future is an essential one.
When designing a new home that will age with you, it is best to consider open living floor plans with main living areas all situated on one floor. With your kitchen, family room, bedrooms, bathrooms, laundry, and garage access all within easy access on the same floor, it eliminates the need for you to worry about climbing stairs. However, many people do not wish to build a new home and are looking for ways to modify their existing space. The simple addition of a stairlift can easily overcome the need to climb stairs in any home.
Increasing the natural light in your home can be a significant help to making your home more comfortable as you age. Adding skylights and larger windows helps increase natural light and does not require the homeowner to always turn on lights. If you are replacing windows, consider casement windows over double hung windows as they provide superior ventilation and are easier to open and close.
Other features within your home that make it easier to age in place include:
- The addition of wider doors, 36” wide doors are preferred.
- Opt for lever style handles on all doors.
- Roll out shelves in cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms allow for easier access to items stored there.
- The addition of D-shaped or loop cabinet pulls.
- Tubs with doors for easy access.
- Grab bars at the toilet and in the shower or tub for stability.
- Lever style faucets in the kitchen and bathrooms.
- Toilet paper dispensers that can be changed with only one hand.
- Counter tops with rounded corners.
- Thresholds or floor level differences of no more than ½” for easy clearance by wheelchairs or power scooters.
In order to reduce maintenance on the exterior of your home, consider upgrading the exterior to low maintenance coverings such as brick, stone, stucco or vinyl siding. All of these allow you to minimize the expense and upkeep of your home.
There are many more ways to improve the functionality of your home making it easier to age in place. Many communities have contractors who specialize in building or retrofitting homes for aging in place. Find a reputable builder who will work with you to accommodate your needs and help you to bring the changes you envision to reality.
At 101 Mobility, we are strong believers in helping people to maintain their independence for as long as possible. We provide a wide variety of mobility products that are designed to increase our customer’s quality of life and help them to age in place. Helping our customers to live in the homes they love and continue to enjoy their lives, their neighbors and their routines is part of why we love our jobs!
However, we also realize that there comes a time when it can be impossible to continue living in our homes; when sometimes we just need too much help with the day to day tasks of living. For some it can be a difficult to know when that time actually has come. With the help of a Geriatric Care Manager, it can be easier to make the difficult decision to move or get in-home help.
A Geriatric Care Manager is trained in several fields including nursing, gerontology, social work and/or psychology and specializes in aging and elder care. A Geriatric Care Manger works with families to navigate the often challenging world of care assessments, screening services, help with reviewing financial, legal or medical issues and so much more. For those who are dealing with long distance care issues, a Geriatric Care Manger can be a family liaison, providing help and acting as a resource for out of town family members.
For more information on how a Geriatric Care Manager might benefit you or a member of your family, please visit the website for the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers.
- Scams Targeting Seniors and How to Avoid Them
- What is a service dog?
- Happy Mother’s Day from 101 Mobility!
- How to Celebrate Special Needs Teacher Appreciation Day
- ALS (Lou Gherigs Disease) and my walk to defeat it
- Hotwheels versus 101 Mobility in Adaptive Hockey
- Wheelchair Accessible National Parks and Monuments