As technology continues to improve at a rapid pace, we are being presented with more options to improve the quality of our lives. One idea that is increasing in popularity is “aging in place” – or “universal design”. These terms are representative of changes one can make to a home to ensure they can continue to live there well into their senior years, or perhaps even indefinitely. There are lots of good things about aging in place. Elderly people that can continue to live in their own home are often much happier. It brings personal freedom, dignity, and the ability to continue living in a familiar community.
The main focus behind this new idea is all about providing the best quality of life available to seniors as they age. This means all the various components of that person’s life. Their personal relationships and ability to socialize, their ability to get around the community they live in, their health, finances, and what we’ll focus on in this article – the design of the place they live in. However, a plan for aging in place should not only focus on the design of a home. It should take a broad approach to all aspects of life that can be planned for ahead of time to improve someone’s quality of life as they age.
As time inevitably rolls on, our bodies age, and with this our personal capabilities often deteriorate. Common experiences for the elderly are things like decreased mobility, reduced hearing and vision, and an impaired immune system. The good news is that there are lots of things you can update within a home to help out with this, and people are coming out with new products and features to steadily improve on previous ideas every day.
Some common improvements people make to a home to assist them as they age are adding a built-in seat to their shower or a walk-in tub to reduce the risk of slips in the shower. A cheaper option is a shower seat, readily available online or at you local superstore. A common improvement you’re likely familiar with is a stair glide or chair life. These are great for seniors with bad knees or heart conditions, and make staying in a home with two or more floors much easier.
One major improvement that you might not immediately think about is a no-step entryway to a home. Entering and exiting a home can be cumbersome, and removing stairs from the equation greatly reduces the risk of falling down. This can be a huge improvement for seniors with bad knees or hips. Sometimes a no-step entryway might not be a great fit for the front door. If this is the case, you could consider converting a patio door or window instead.
Many people also widen the entrance of the entryway when they add a no-step option. Narrow doorways can be a major hassle if you’re trying to fit a walker or wheelchair through it. When considering widening your doorway, it’s important you speak to a company that offers a custom fit for your front door, like Mr. Rogers Windows and Doors or Renewal by Andersen. A one-size-fits-all solution will not apply here, so you’ll want to consult a company that can provide you with a customized solution.
Some other things you can add to an entryway to improve the quality of live of a senior is non-slip flooring in the entrance (to prevent slips if their feet are wet), sensors to automatically turn on lights when someone is outside of the house, a peephole that is lower on the door to be viewed more easily when using a wheelchair or walker, and improvements to the sidewalk that leads up to the house. All of these might seem like minor details, but the whole is greater than the sum of the parts here, and these changes can greatly improve a senior’s life as they continue to age.