Many people find themselves engrossed in scrolling through Pinterest boards dedicated to their dream homes, obsessed with watching home improvement shows, or thumbing through magazines with beautiful homes gracing the pages. While these projects can all be fun, taking on a project that will benefit the family in the long run would be a project that is certainly worth the effort. Renovations and adaptive devices for assisted living, can support you to live independently at home as you age.
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Taking care of an elderly family member is something that is almost guaranteed in a lifetime, and 90% of seniors have expressed their desire to live at home for as long as they possibly can. Even if the plan is not to stay in the home after retirement, consider how accessible the home could be made, in case you do choose to “age in place”. If nothing else, consider how valuable the home would be to a buyer looking for an accessible home for a loved one with accessibility needs.
Universal Design is architecture that helps people live at home comfortably, no matter what needs they may have. The principles of universal design are used in making buildings accessible for all people, and today it is most often used in designing homes for an aging population of people.
To prepare a home for an aging individual, think about the way that a home shapes a life. Factors to consider include visibility needs, wheelchair accessibility, fall hazards, fatigue, dexterity issues, and even reduced maintenance.
In the bathroom, install grab bars in the shower. This can be helpful to anyone using the bathroom. In addition, a shower seat can be installed which would aid older adults that have trouble standing for long periods of time. Doorknobs can be replaced with lever handles. These are much easier to operate than regular door knobs, which can be problematic for those with arthritis. Light switches can be replaced with touch or rocker switches. These can also be easier for those with hand ailments. Consider that traditional window hardware on windows can be difficult to operate as well.
Recessed lighting can be installed under cabinets and countertops. These would illuminate the work-space and living space for seniors. Sinks and faucets can also be hooked up to lever handles or even pedals. These are much easier to operate for everyone, and are great for those with limited mobility. Sensor lighting at all entries helps to maintain safety to those with impaired vision.
Some more intensive home improvements can be utilized to make aging at home even easier. This can be as simple as changing paint colors to help those with impaired vision distinguish level changes in the home. High-pile carpet increases the chance of tripping and falling, so replacing it with low-pile is ideal. Removing steps from an entryway ensures that anyone can approach the door and safely enter. A drastic change may be to even make the first floor completely livable. This saves the need to conquer stairs and reduces the risk of a fall.
Assisted living can mean staying in your own home, around your own things, with the right environmental adaptations and assistive devices, and sometimes a trained individual who comes around to offer a helping hand when you need it.