Top Tips to Age in Place
by Sharon Wagner
Many of us want to stay in our own homes as we grow older. If that’s one of your goals, there are preparations best made in advance to ensure you stay safe and independent. Read on for practical strategies to help you remain in your own abode throughout your golden years. Let’s stay smart and we can age in place.
Light Up Your Life
It’s no secret that age takes a toll on our bodies. As strength wanes and eyesight deteriorates, we often become more subject to falls. In fact, HomeAdvisor points out that 60 percent of senior falls happen at home, so changes aimed at fall prevention are a crucial step toward aging in place. Improved lighting can make a big impact on reducing your risk of falling. Older eyes have a harder time adjusting to changes in brightness, so ensuring your home has even lighting is a smart and simple upgrade. Also, pay special attention to hallways, corners, and stairways since they tend to be dim, and brighten them as needed.
Ease Your Entry
Most traditional homes have entryways which can be challenging to navigate as we age, especially if you use an assistive device. Ideally, you should adjust your home so there is at least one flush entryway with a wide door frame and non-slip footing. Another idea is to install a ramp. Many people balk at adding a ramp, but just walking from the car with groceries is easier with a graded slope, especially as you get older. There are many attractive designs that blend nicely with your house’s style and landscaping. Also, just like inside your home, you should address outdoor lighting concerns for when you come and go after dark.
Bathrooms are an area of high risk for seniors, but even a little sprucing up can go a long way toward keeping you safe. Some simple additions include things like a shower seat, a taller toilet, and non-slip bathtub strips. Another relatively simple and effective change is to install a faucet with lever-style handles, making it easier for aging hands to operate. Grab bars can also be a boon, helping you catch yourself if you get off-balance, which is particularly helpful in a room where conditions are often slippery.
Let’s Get Cookin’
Keeping your kitchen user-friendly can become more challenging as you grow older. Installing rollouts in lower cabinets can help you avoid bending and stretching, and Family Handyman offers simple step-by-step instructions. Also, putting your small appliances at countertop height makes them easier to operate. Consider investing in a countertop microwave if you have an under-counter model, as it’s easier to handle hot or heavy dishes at a lower level. Another idea is to invest in some kitchen gadgetry designed to assist aging hands, like a jar opener.
Take Care of Yourself
Tending to your body should be a top priority throughout life, but as you age, it’s especially important. Make sure you’re consuming a balanced diet so you’re healthy and energetic. People need fewer calories as they get older, but they require more protein, ample fiber, and sufficient vitamins and minerals. A diet rich in vegetables, fruit, lean meats, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products can help you stay on track. It’s also important to stay physically active. Verywell Health notes that seniors need around 30 minutes of daily exercise, which can be broken into 10-minute segments. You can walk, swim, or whatever you enjoy. Not only can you better avoid falls and illnesses, if trouble occurs, recovery is quicker and easier if you’re healthy.
Aging in place is a realistic possibility with the right strategies. Make some home and lifestyle modifications to ensure you can remain safe and independent. Your golden years will truly shine with just a handful of well-chosen changes.