The Centers for Disease Control estimates that one-third of all people 65 years of age and older fall each year, and up to two-thirds of them sustain injury in their own home. At the same time, people want to live in their current home as long as they want.
“Aging in place” refers to people staying in their existing homes safely as they age. Some helpful suggestions for improving the safety of a home follow:
- Kitchen cabinets with roll-out and pull-out shelving alleviates the need to stretch or bend.
- Extra lighting, especially in bedrooms and bathrooms.
- Raised toilets can be easier to use.
- Non-slip floors and non-skid rugs reduce risk of falling.
- Raised garden beds.
- No-threshold showers with grab bars.
- Non-skid strips in the shower.
- Lever handles instead of standard round doorknobs.
- Front loading washer and dryer.
- Replace drawer knobs with U shaped pulls which are generally easier to grasp.
- Vary height of counter top to accommodate height of person and makes tasks easier
- Use contrasting colors, particularly at tops and bottoms of stairs.
- Install and secure railings which are easier to grasp.
- Replace fixed shower head with a hand-held model.
- Replace light switches with easy to use rocker switches
- Make doorways wider.
- Adjustable height closet rods.
- Raise electrical outlets, requiring less bending.
- Purchase smoke detector with strobe lights if hearing impaired.
Incorporating subtle modifications such as above can provide comfort, help you stay in your home longer and ultimately age in place safely.