How Seniors Can Age In Place Safely
This article was contributed by Kent Elliot (not affiliated with our home health agency), who will be launching his book in relation to aging seniors. Watch out for his upcoming book
Many seniors find it difficult to think about what comes after retirement; they may be worried about how far their savings will stretch, whether they’ll be able to pay monthly bills without taking on a part-time job, or how long they’ll be able to stay in their home before the need for help arises. Some individuals are dealing with health or mobility issues that make aging-in-place uncomfortable or impossible, while others simply can’t afford it. It’s important to start making a plan as soon as possible for where you’ll live after retirement, and to think of all the financial details.
The good news is, if you feel your home isn’t safe or doesn’t meet your needs, there are some modifications you can make that will turn things around and allow you to live at home for as long as possible. Some of these are simple DIY projects, while others might require a contractor; you may be able to find funding or grants for these, depending on which state you live in and what your income level is. You might also consider downsizing, which will not only have built-in safety considerations, but will also save you money in the long run. You can start your journey here, where you’ll find forms to download that will help you stay organized.
Keep reading for some great tips on how to age-in-place safely. For the readers’ further knowledge, “Home Modifications for Seniors and the Disabled,” is a recently released article that provides more information on home modifications and available financing.
Keep safety in mind
As we grow older, the chances of injury or illness become greater, and your home should be a sanctuary away from that. Look at each room and consider how it works for you, and how it will work for you five or ten years from now. If you have mobility issues or declining health, will taking care of your home–or even just safely maneuvering through it–become an issue? Are there steps you’ll have to climb everyday, or is there a big lawn you’ll need to take care of? In these cases, it might be worth considering a downsize, but smaller issues–such as bathroom safety and flooring–can be taken care of so that you can live in your home for as long as possible.
Look for accessible homes
In some cases, staying in your home isn’t feasible. You’ll want to start a home search in your area for the best accessible homes so you don’t have to worry about making costly modifications, and Redfin is a great place to begin. The site has filters so that you can narrow down your search, but it’s a good idea to use a checklist so you have all the things you need right in front of you. Keep in mind that the average listing price for an accessible home for Kane County in the state of Illinois is $265,000.
Falls are one of the leading causes of injury for seniors, but they can be prevented with a smart plan for aging-in-place. This means making sure flooring is even and slip-free in each room, removing throw rugs that can provide a trip-hazard, and making plans to ensure that the bathroom is as safe as possible. Sturdy, rubber-backed mats on the floor and in the tub will go a long way toward preventing slips. A grab bar and shower seat in the bathtub are also a good idea, or you might consider installing a step-in shower that will allow you to move in and out easily.
Aging-in-place safely isn’t just about the present; it’s about thinking ahead and having a good idea of what you will need or want a few years down the road. Take your health into consideration, and the health of your spouse or partner. With a good plan, you can ensure your continued safety and happiness for years to come.
by Kent Elliot
Author (in progress)
Photo: Courtesy of Pixabay