One-third of American homes today house residents over the age of 60, and 90 percent of those residents would prefer to stay in their homes as they age for as long as humanly possible, a study by the National Institute on Aging shows.
With more Americans living well into old age, that may seem like a tall order. But planning ahead can make aging in place more achievable for you or your loved ones.
The National Institute on Aging and Senior Living Magazine offers practical tips for making any home safer as we age:
Fix walkways. This is the time to repair cracked or uneven areas of the walkway that could prove hazardous.
Improve lighting. Install point lighting at the front door and motion-sensor lights focused on the stairwell to make entering the home and climbing the stairs safer.
Add railings. Speaking of stairs, if you do have them, adding another railing on the wall side will make climbing much easier as you age.
Safety-proof the kitchen. Switch to appliances with easy-to-read controls and simple-to-push button interfaces. Installing Lazy Susans or roll-out shelving in pantries and cabinets will make it easier to access foodstuffs, dishes, pot, pans and more.
Guard against slips and falls in the bath. Add non-slip flooring and a securely attached grab bar to the shower. Consider building in a permanent bench or purchase a sturdy shower chair. Install a hand-held, adjustable height shower head with a hose to help direct the water.
Security and home automation. In addition to a home security system, look into systems that automate light control, entertainment and more.
Know how to get help. Do an online search now to become acquainted with available senior resources—such as transportation, meal delivery or personal care service—provided by local agencies, senior centers and state offices.