11 Simple Things You Can Do to Help You Age-In-Place.
Many San Diego homeowners are deciding to remain in their homes and age in place. After all, this is a wonderful place to live and retire. The benefits of aging in place are so clear; including the dignity of staying in your own home and maintaining your connection to your community. Additionally, research by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has shown that making modifications to stay in one’s home could be significantly cheaper than moving into assisted living housing.
Aging in place remodeling focuses on retrofitting your home and lifestyle so that you can remain in your own home as long as you would like.
Here are some simple lower-cost options to get started that don’t involve a full-scale remodel:
Good lighting is key. Install stronger or dimmer lighting depending on your eyes and vision. Use halogen bulbs to reduce glare. Use full-spectrum bulbs that simulate daylight. Bright task lighting is important in areas like the kitchen, bathroom and closets. Install lighting in hallways, stairs and pathways with a nighttime guide or motion-sensor lighting for safer movement. Lighting controls should be easily accessible from a seated position height and replace traditional toggle-style light switches with larger, easier-to-use rocker-style or touch light switches. Get light switches that glow in the dark.
Replace door knobs with lever-type handles. These are much easier to open. Foot pedal controlled door handles are another option, though a little more expensive. In the kitchen, replace the cabinet hardware with loop handles for easy grip and pull.
Install Thermostatic or anti-scald controls throughout to prevent hot water burns. For sinks, pull-out spray faucets are easier to use in the kitchen and motion sensor activated faucets let you use the faucet without having to turn any handles. Install a handheld shower head with a very long hose.
Add rollout trays or lazy susans in lower cabinets. Consider pull-out or pull-down shelves. Install soft-closers for drawers so that they will close automatically. Use adjustable and low rods and shelves in closets and cabinets.
If you are replacing appliances, consider purchasing an electric or induction cooktop with front controls, lights to show when the surface is hot and a downdraft feature to pull heat away from you. Install a drawer microwave to allow food to be lifted out at a safer level. Consider a dishwasher drawer. Install Side-by-side refrigerator/freezer.
Keep it Low Maintenance
Keep your landscaping low-maintenance shrubs by using drought-resistant plants (requiring less watering) and slower growing grasses that don’t need as much mowing.
Install a gentle sloping ramp with handrails or guardrails to your doorway, if needed. Open up all doorways wide enough to allow a walker, or wheelchair to pass easily. The ramp should be a non-slip surface and covered if possible. Install adequate hand-rails on both sides of stairway, one and a quarter inch diameter. Place your doorbell in accessible location
Add toilet safety frames to allow you to lower yourself onto the seat, and toilet seat risers that reduce the distance you need to bend down. Install toilet paper holder that allows rolls to be changed with one hand.
Flooring should be smooth and slip-resistant. Carpeting can be helpful to help protect from falls, but it should be low pile and with a firm pad. You can install rubber flooring, slip-resistant vinyl, or cork, non-slip rugs, slip-resistant bath mat with suction cups. You can also use a non-slip spray or water-resistance adhesives on the existing flooring. Throw away the throw-rugs. Adding grippy, stick-on traction pads to the stairs
Easy-to-see and read thermostats, preferably one you can pre-program.
Lower your door security peepholes for access from a seated position or replaced with a video system.
Keep your floor space as clear as possible. Rearrange your furniture and belongings if needed. Wider paths will help you move easier, and also help to prevent falls.
These are 11 simple things you can do to assist you in aging in place.
Of course there’s much more that can be done to facilitate aging in place. Please contact us if you’d like you’d like to discuss any remodeling projects that can help you age in place..