According to AARP, 87% of adults aged 65 and older want to stay in their current home for as long as possible. Aging in place (the phrase coined for this trend) helps older adults live at home comfortably as time goes on.
It’s no surprise that the elderly want to continue living in the houses they’ve made into homes. Whether you’re looking to stay in your home for longer or you’re a caregiver trying to make the transition easier, here are seven home updates that make aging in place easier.
1. Grab Bars
Install grab bars in the bathroom. Many are engineered to handle up to 700 pounds of pull when properly installed. Two ideal spots for them are next to the toilet and in the shower – i.e. places where those with limited mobility could use extra support.
2. Cabinet Hardware
If your kitchen cabinets aren’t equipped with hardware, it might be time install some. Opt for cabinet pulls – the longer the better. Cabinet knobs add a great decorative touch, but they aren’t always the easiest to grasp because of their size.
Something as simple as switching out faucets can make the world of a difference to those with arthritis. Getting rid of the twisting motion of a knob and replacing it with the simple pull of a lever eases stress on the joints. Faucets that activate with a simple touch are even better. Look to replace the kitchen sink faucet, bathroom sink faucet and shower or tub faucet.
4. Door Hardware
Replace doorknobs with door levers. While they still require a twisting motion, it’s not as drastic a motion as turning a knob. Again, for those with arthritis, it makes opening doors less of a painful task. Door levers also provide more leverage while grasping.
5. Rocker Light Switches
For the elderly, toggle light switches can be hard to see and use because of how small they are. Rockers are an ideal solution as the switch itself is much bigger than a toggle. Replace toggle switches and plates throughout the house with GFCI rockers for an easier-to-operate choice.
Keep hallways, bedrooms and bathrooms well-lit when the sun goes down. Motion-activated nightlights are an energy efficient option. Along with getting rid of tripping hazards like rugs and runners, the visibility that nightlights provide is essential for those with limited eyesight. This is one of the easiest additions to help the elderly age in place.
7. Comfort Height Toilets
Many standard toilets measure around 15” tall, but if you’re updating a home to help someone age in place, find a toilet that’s 2 or 3 inches taller. Paired with a grab bar, a taller toilet gives those with mobility issues more stability when it comes to sitting and standing. Keep an eye out for toilets labeled right height or comfort height.
The last thing you want is to keep your aging loved one from living life safely and comfortably. That’s where aging in place comes in – keeping them safe in their homes without fear of getting hurt.
Helping the elderly age in place has the potential to become a huge home renovation project, but these simple updates will help get their home ready for lifelong living.