Many people choose to continue living in their homes as they age. This is known as ‘aging in place’ and can be a good fit for some. If you’re considering aging in place, you should prepare for the future so you can continue to live as comfortably as possible. Here are six changes you can make to your home for old age to get you started.
- Improved Lighting
It’s important to make sure there is adequate lighting throughout your home. Vision loss is a common issue for people as they age. If you suspect this may be a struggle for you, ensuring your home is properly lit can be helpful. Doing this will make it easier for you to see and move around, limiting the chance of injury.
There are a couple of ways you can improve your home’s lighting. One way is to install sensor lights. Sensor lights will help you move more freely throughout your house without worrying about finding a light switch in the dark. Another strategy is to set up lights for specific activities. For example, if you like to read before bed, make sure there’s a reading light already set up and ready to use for your convenience.
- Pet Arrangements
Pets are often a great source of encouragement for many people and can improve the mental wellbeing of older adults. However, they can still be a hazard for you as you age. For example, they may cause you to trip or strain yourself too much. If this may be the case for you, you should create a separate space for your pet, so they don’t accidentally trip you or cause other problems. This space can be used for certain times of the day if you know you’ll be moving around the house a lot or if you need some space for the moment.
Creating a separate space can also be beneficial for your pet because you may accidentally injure them as well. If you can’t move as quickly or you misstep somehow, there is potential for your pet to get hurt as well. So, having a separate space for your pet can be useful.
- Structural Renovations
If possible, it may be beneficial for you to make more permanent renovations to your home. You can do these renovations inside or outside. One indoor renovation can be widening your hallways. If your house has narrow hallways, it can be difficult for you to move around as you age, especially if you use a wheelchair or walker.
You may also want to consider moving hard-to-reach outlets to a more accessible spot. Most outlets tend to be closer to the ground, so moving them higher can help you bend over less if that becomes an issue. Another common indoor renovation is changing your doorknobs. Some people have a hard time using round doorknobs as they grow older.
For the outdoors, you may want to change entryway stairs into a ramp for easier mobility. Replacing outdoor stairs with ramps will make it easier to move around if you need a wheelchair or walker. Another outdoor renovation you can consider is making sure your driveway isn’t too bumpy. If you like to go for walks, it might be good to keep your driveway free of cracks, bumps, and holes to prevent you from tripping.
If your home is disorganized and cluttered, it may be harder for you to move around safely. People tend to accumulate a lot of extra stuff and clutter throughout the years. However, this can be harmful because too much clutter and furniture can make it hard to move around.
A great way to keep this from happening is to sort through all your stuff and get rid of anything you don’t need. The items you get rid of can include unnecessary furniture, decorations, general clutter, and more. Your goal should be to create more open space so your physical environment can support you as you age.
- Installing Assisted Living Equipment
Assisted living equipment can be a good way for you to move around your home as you age. For example, stairs can be a significant hazard. If you live in a multi-level home, you may consider installing stairlifts or elevators to help you move up and down the stairs safely.
Bathrooms can also be an issue. Trying to step into a tub can be difficult, and the chance of you slipping in the shower is more likely. To combat this, you may want to install handrails in the shower and near the toilet. It can be even more helpful for some people to install a seat or bench in the shower or tub.
Other examples include bed railings, special kitchen tools, speaking clocks, and more. It all depends on you and your situation for what may be the most helpful.
- Room Configuration
Changing the location of your rooms can help your daily routine run more smoothly. If you have a two-story home and your bedroom is upstairs, you should think about moving it downstairs for easier access. Another example would be an office or workspace. If your office is upstairs, moving it to the first floor can be helpful. The bottom line here is to move your most-used rooms downstairs. Doing so will limit your use of the stairs, which can help prevent injury.
Aging in place can be a great option for you as you age. Do your best to look ahead and to see what your future self might need. Everyone’s needs are different, but these six tips can be a great starting point.