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Can I Age in Place?

age in place
January 21, 2023 • | Curran Estate & Elder Law, PLLC
As people age, health and mobility issues can make independent living at home more difficult. However, not everyone can afford a nursing home or assisted living, and not everyone wants to move to one of these facilities.

Research shows that 77% of adults aged 50 and older want to stay in their homes long term. However, a third of adults aged 50+ say they need to modify their current home for themselves or a loved one in order to do so.

US News and World Report’ recent article entitled “6 Home Improvements to Help You Age in Place” says that, unfortunately, extensive home modifications can be prohibitively expensive. Even modifications that are less complicated, like installing a chair lift or upgrading to a walk-in bathtub, can have a high price tag. However, the good news is that there are lower-cost renovations you can consider that could make it possible for a loved one of yours to age in place. Here are a few that could have a major effect without breaking the bank.

  1. Update Lighting. Vision can be an issue as we age. That can lead to falls and injury. Install smart lighting and technology that lets you have lights turn on automatically when you enter a room. This can lead to fewer accidents at night or in general.
  2. Add Stability Bars. Preventing falls should be a big priority when renovating a home for aging in place. Stability bars are great for letting seniors keep their balance. These bars can be installed in locations, such as the bathroom, kitchen, or the bedroom.
  3. Put Non-Slip Floormats in High-Usage Areas. Certain types of flooring have the potential to get slippery. This increases the risk of someone slipping and falling. That's why non-slip mats in strategic locations, like the kitchen and bathrooms, can be a great help.
  4. Refinish Floors. Carpeting can decrease the risk of falling in a home. However, it won't work everywhere. The right finish on hardwood or laminate flooring could also lead to fewer accidents.
  5. Install a Shower Seat. A mix of slick surfaces, soap and running water can create a real hazard for older adults who have problems with balance. Therefore, installing a shower seat makes a lot of sense. It lets an individual bathe in a seated position instead of having to stand up, reducing falls and injuries.
  6. Secure Existing Home Fixtures. Tightening any loose staircase railings and securing rugs with non-skid pads underneath could prevent accidents. Power and electrical cords can also become a hazard when a senior has trouble seeing. Get a cord wrap or organizer that will secure the cords and prevent them from sticking out. Decluttering could also go a long way. Surface tops that are free of clutter can be grabbed for stability more easily, as needed. Removing clutter from room corners can also take away yet another trip hazard that could land someone vulnerable in the hospital.

Reference: US News and World Report (Oct. 26, 2022) “6 Home Improvements to Help You Age in Place”

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