As they continue to age, an optimal choice for seniors looking to optimize their quality of life is to age in place. In fact, a 2014 AARP survey revealed that 87 percent of adults over the age of 65 preferred this option. Although health and physical capability are two big factors associated with aging at home, one factor that’s often forgotten is the livability of the home seniors are located in.
Modern homes are not always equipped to accommodate aging citizens. It’s not an easy choice to relocate, nor achieve a complete home remodel, especially when costs are high. However, the environment can be adapted to suit the needs and caution of older citizens with minimal modifications. The emergence of different technologies has also allowed aging in place to be more secure, and enables seniors to stay connected to family, as well as maintain medicinal schedules and any other health habits. Here are some of the home living trends to better maximize a seniors ability to age at home.
Home Living Trends
First thing’s first- is the entrance to the home well lit? Though not many would consider it, making sure the entrance to the home accommodates seniors is something to think about when aging in place. Good lighting is essential for when night falls, and any mats that could cause a stumble should be removed. Also, a threshold entrance could warrant falls, so modifying to a level entrance would be more beneficial to prevent any trips or stumbles.
Widen Doorways/ Hallways
In order to accommodate a scooter or wheelchair should the need arise, wider doors and hallways are essential for a home to fully accommodate seniors. Recommended hallway width is 48” and door width 36”.
One in four American seniors fall every year. Because falls are a leading cause in accidents for seniors, a fall-proof home will make for a happy aging in place with little worry. To do this, install slip-proof flooring and/or get rid of threshold bath/shower entry. Also, other small modifications include getting rid of area rugs or running cables on the floor that could lead to tripping.
Steps, Stairs, and Everything in Between
Steps and stairs in the home can trigger falls if not accommodated properly for older citizens. So if living in a two-story home, make sure the stairs are well lit by installing light switches on both ends. Also, replace any worn out carpeting and make sure no nails are sticking out of the stair steps. And the most beneficial step in modifying the home: make sure handrails are installed. This can be critical in preventing any falls!
As newer technologies emerge, there are now apps beneficial for folks looking to age in place. Some apps are useful for emergencies and medication woes. For instance, Medisafe Pill Reminder reminds seniors when to take their pills and when it’s time for a prescription to be refilled. This app is also useful to track weight, pulse, temperature, blood glucose levels, and blood pressure.
Then there’s the Red Panic Button app, which lets seniors open the app and tap the red button that appears in the middle of the screen in case of a fall or other emergency. This immediately sends a text message and email with your GPS location in a Google Maps link to all of your emergency contacts.
As seniors continue to age, many don’t see a reason to leave the comforts of their home and prefer to age in place. Modern advancements such as apps enable family members to stay close with these older citizens, and a few home modifications can ensure well-being and ease worry. Many seniors and their families are unsure where to start, or what programs are available to educate and support aging in place. Contact Community Home Health Care at 845-425-6555 to learn more today. Our care providers will be happy to assist.