As baby boomers age, many are opting to stay in their homes instead of moving after retirement. If you are among the growing population of aging adults, it is important to make sure your home has both long- and short-term solutions to ensure your safety and comfort throughout your golden years. Here are several tips to help make sure any environment is optimal for aging in place, a home designed for independent living.
Lighting. Without proper illumination throughout your home, you may be exposing yourself to a potential slip and fall. Night or security lights inside and outside your home allow you to safely walk around when it is dark. Recessed lighting fixtures in common areas and hallways are also options to consider.
Furniture. Examine the seating options available in your home. Do you have a sofa or chair that is too soft or too low? Certain types of seating can make it difficult sit or get up easily. Consider adding appropriately firm furniture options to you home. Chairs or sofas higher off the ground with arms can minimize discomfort.
Walkways. Any type of throw rug or bath mat can become a tripping hazard if they are not properly secured. If you do not want to remove your rug, non-slips pads help but they are not a full-proof option. Apply double-sided carpet tape or caulk to securely attach the rug to the floor. The limitation with this option is that the floor underneath may be damaged if not set properly.
Kitchen. There is an array of appliances to improve your ease of use around the kitchen. Lever-handle faucets with a pull-out spray, a raised dishwasher to avoid back strain and a side-by-side refrigerator with slide-out shelves are options. Other modifications to your kitchen, such as installing a pull-out cutting board or larger cabinets with drawer pulls can make cooking in your home more enjoyable.
Bathroom. The right type of fixtures in your bathroom can create a barrier-free environment. Lever handles on faucets and a slide-bar-type hand-held shower are attractive options for boomers. You may want to install a curbless shower. Not only does this type of adjustment help you from stepping over something, curbless showers can be rolled into with a wheelchair if necessary.
A builder or remodeler with a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) designation can help you or your loved one find customized designs. Contact the AHBA to help you find a builder or remodeler in your area with a CAPS designation or visit the online directory.