This may come as a surprise to many of you, the senior population is the fastest growing population according to the last government census results. What does this mean? For us as children, it means preparing to take care of our parents and possibly even grandparents for longer than generations before us. It means preparing their homes for them to live independently longer and preparing ours for when the time comes that this is no longer possible.
When the aging population is allowed to continue living on their own without the need to move from their homes it tends to increase their mental and physical health. In order to keep seniors safely in their homes as they age there are a number of home modifications that can be done throughout the home.
As our parents age we will start to slowly see the everyday tasks that we still take for granted become more and more difficult for them. Mobility starts to decline. In an effort to address this, simple updates around the home can be put into place such as:
- Replacing doorknobs with levels
- Updating standard light fixtures to rocker style switches
- Automatic lighting throughout the house
- Shelving that slide in and out
It is pretty common knowledge that falling is the number one accident for senior citizens. In order to prevent accidental falls, remove all throw rugs. If flooring updates are an option choose materials that are smooth and soft like cork, rubber, and even linoleum. Although soft, plush carpet may seem like the best option it is often a hazard to seniors, especially when using mobility assistance like a walker or cane.
Aging in the Kitchen
If remodeling the kitchen is in the plan take time to meet with an age in place specialty contractor to ensure you get the best layout possible for your parents needs as well as for resale value. Standing can be an issue for seniors and therefore a space that can be used in a seated position to prepare meals is best. Kitchen islands are often used in age in place remodeling because of their versatility. If your loved one uses a wheelchair they can easily be accommodated. It is important that all cabinetry is in reach. The last thing that you want is an older member of the family using a step stool to reach in high cupboards. Add drawer’s vs cabinetry when possible. Many kitchens are incorporating deep drawers for pots, pans, dishes, and even food storage.
Aging in the Bathroom
The bathroom is another area of particular concern for the aging population. Take the time to install a taller toilet to ease getting up. Replace standard shower heads with handheld wands. Remove bathtubs and install stand up showers that doesn’t need to be stepped into. The bathroom is one space to use special care when making modifications. Bathing and selfcare is a very private process and is one of the last places seniors want to be requiring assistance. Make the space as efficient as possible to preserve your loved one’s dignity.
Glen Miller the Home Doctor is a licensed general contractor servicing Livingston County and the surrounding areas. Glen offers a wide range of services including home maintenance plans, age in place remodeling, kitchen and bathroom remodeling, finished basements, and hardwood floor refinishing. More information can be found online at https://www.glenmillerthehomedoctor.com/.