Over the course of recent time, more and more elderly are deciding to age in place rather than spending the remainder of their lives in an assisted living facility. The reasonings behind both pathways are vast, and each person sees it differently, but what are some advantages of aging in place? How can you prepare for a loved one to spend the rest of their life at home, on their own terms?
Aging in place is simply the act of living out your elderly life at home and forgoing the conveniences and relative safety of living at a retirement home or senior care center. By doing so you elect to remove certain peace of mind elements including 24/7 care and making sure you get enough exercise, but different people may find those elements negligible if it means keeping your total autonomy. This of course varies for different people, but it is possible to make your home safer for an elderly person who made need adjustments but still wants the autonomy.
Keeping your autonomy is a great idea for somebody who still retains a sound mind, but a sound mind does not always mean the body is equally sound. Making sure your bathroom is equipped with the proper tools for safety is a large step in making sure somebody aging in place can do so without finding danger in simple tasks. Having a step-in tub that enables the user to remain stable is a no-brainer, but having a stool installed is a great way for somebody to rest without having to leave the tub or shower itself. Grab bars are also crucial to prevent falling. None of these options will be optimal if the user has to ascend or descend stairs to get to the bathroom, so having the primary bathroom on the main floor is exceedingly important.
If the elderly is wheelchair bound, having enough space in the home is something nobody should overlook. A person cannot retain his or her autonomy if they are unable to turn around in a hallway while in a wheelchair. Similarly, not having a proper ramp to get into the home itself defeats the purpose of having any safety measures in the home. Having plenty of pull bars around the house and in bedrooms can help the user transport themselves onto a bed.
Ultimately, deciding to age in place is not always the decision of the elderly person. With different mental aging issues like Alzheimer’s and its accompanying side effects affecting most mental capabilities, living at a senior care center would be the best and only option for those affected. Having somebody with limited mental capacities aging in place would diminish the effect of any safety-increasing modifications simply because that person cannot take advantage of them properly. It can be frustrating when a person first experiencing these side effects does not agree with the decision to keep them under watch, but until a cure is found the best course of action for these people is a care center. No amount of home modifications can help in every case.
Aging in place is an admirable and understandable decision but making sure the correct safety protocols are in place is crucial in order to make that autonomy is consistent. If you have a loved one at that stage of life, make sure you properly go over all options and requirements before deciding that aging in place is the correct path to take.
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/.