Whether you're choosing to age in place or have a senior parent moving in with you, here's how to prepare your space for the safety of senior living.
It's estimated that around 18% of the population is over the age of 65 living all across the country. And that number is only predicted to rise exponentially as healthcare improves and life expectancy increases.
While getting older is a fact of life, it comes with its own unique set of challenges. Both for the person getting older and their loved ones, as often someone is needed to help take care of the senior. These days many are choosing aging in place which allows them to stay in their own home and out of a care facility.
Age in place home care is a wonderful choice for many but there are a few things that have to be done to make it as successful as possible. Follow these tips to help get your home safe and ready!
Aging in Place: How to Safely Prepare Your Home for a Senior
1. Focus on Easy Movement
When you look at the issues and obstacles that those in the aging population face, one of the biggest is mobility. Bodies just can't move around as easily as we get older for a wide variety of reasons. Not to mention, the lack of energy that also follows as well.
This is why one of the most important things you can factor in aging in place design is easier opportunities for movement.
That means installing railings, ramps, and guards on all of the major walkways outdoors. It looks like rearranging rooms to avoid stairs. And, more simply, clearing paths of any clutter and rearranging furniture for wider openings and pathways. All of these things combined will help make your home easier to manage and navigate.
2. Reduce Fall Risks
Unfortunately, walkways aren't the only fall risks presented in a typical home situation. The bathroom often presents more of a problem than any other area or room, which makes sense since they are often tighter and water makes things much slicker. If you can only do a few things to your home, the bathroom should be a priority.
The most important bathroom safety tip is to make sure there are solid surfaces that can help your loved senior stay upright. That could include grab bars near the toilet, a chair in the shower, or a handle by the sink.
Rugs and fallen towels can also pose a potential fall risk. Make a plan for keeping these in a safe place that won't get in the way of the movement in the bathroom.
3. Boost Natural Light
Studies show that an increase in natural sunlight has a positive impact on a senior's overall health and wellness, which is why it's so important to increase the amount coming into your home if possible.
We all know how spending time in the sun gives you that natural boost of vitamin D and helps improve your mood. But for the older population, it's also been seen to help reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Both of those are leading causes of problems as we age, so doing anything to prevent them is worthwhile.
Simply, opening blinds or moving furniture to expose more of the window can have a positive impact. Even just moving a bed to face the sun is a great option!
If this is not possible, opt for a light therapy lamp instead.
4. Increase Temperature Control
Just like we become more sensitive to light as we grow older, our bodies also become more sensitive to temperature as well. For the most part, seniors tend to be much colder than their younger counterparts but it occasionally goes the other way as well. That's why having really accurate temperature control is so important.
The first thing to do is make sure your HVAC system is working properly and that your home is well-insulated and sealed. This will not only save you money but also make sure you can regulate the temperature as well.
It's also a good idea to install a smart thermostat that everyone can control remotely for the most comfort possible.
5. Create Positive Routines
Age in place home care can feel like a lot for every party involved but when you start with the very basics, it can actually be a wonderful experience. The best thing you can do to steer your journey that way is to develop positive routines right away.
Take the time to do activities that improve brain health and boost moods. Do things that everyone enjoys on a regular basis. And don't forget health-promoting habits like taking walks. All of these things will work together to give you the benefits of a happy life while getting to spend your aging years in a place you love.
6. Speak With Healthcare Providers
Before you get too far into your aging in place remodelling, it's a great idea to speak to the healthcare provider who best knows the aging senior. Chances are, they've helped other patients through this process and will have helpful insights you might have missed.
When you take the time to have an honest conversation with someone who knows the health and history of your senior, they can also provide specific recommendations. Since they work with this population often, they can help you predict what the guru might hold and anticipate any problems before they even begin.
The more knowledge, the better in these kinds of projects. Make sure to take advantage of the expertise you have available to you!
Tips to Prepare for Aging in Place
Moving into a new phase of life can feel daunting if you don't take the time to properly prepare. Following these tips to set your home up for aging in place (either for yourself or your loved one) will help you feel at peace going forward. You can feel confident that you're ready to handle whatever obstacle comes while being able to spend quality time together.
We recommend working with a professional to make sure you have all of the right gear and tools needed to help with the aging process as well. This way you're sure all of your bases are covered!
If you're working on aging in place house plans, contact us today for some expert advice and product recommendations!