Many aging seniors desire to live alone, and in many cases they are able to thrive at home. Their home is familiar, comfortable, and a place where they may be surrounded by family, friends, and neighbors. There are many support services in the community offered by nonprofits, churches, private companies and governmental services. This may include pharmacy services, ride sharing and transportation, home care, and other helpful services to make life a little easier for an elderly person.
Despite the benefits of aging in place, loved ones, caregivers and those who watch out for the older person may be concerned about the senior living alone in a house. To keep seniors safe, an adult child or caregiver can check the home for safety hazards like throw rugs, clutter, lighting and other issues that may accrue and get overlooked in one's daily routine.
Another facet of seniors living safely at home, is universal design. Universal design (often inclusive design) refers to broad-spectrum ideas meant to produce buildings, products and environments that are inherently accessible to older people, people without disabilities, and people with disabilities. Universal design is commonly seen in new construction, whether single homes, villas, ranches or condos and other senior living accommodations. Seniors who live in their existing homes can also integrate universal design concepts to make their house ideal for aging in place.
Some ideas on universal design concepts that can be implemented in an individual's home include:
One story living. If a senior has a two story, convert a first floor room into a bedroom. If that option is not available a stair lift is a valuable option.
No step entries. Ramps can be built out of wood or entry walkways can be regraded with cement or pavers. This includes replacing the thresholds at the doorways to be as low as possible.
Doorways can be widened to 36 inches.
Extra floor space. Remove unneccessary furnishings, decorations and clutter to provide greater space for mobility.
Low or no step showers. Bathrooms should have grab bars all around and even a bench in the shower or tub with a handheld shower head.
Lever door handles on all doors both interior and exterior. This assists the senior suffering form arthritis or poor handstrength. Light switches can also be changed out from a standard switch to a large rocker switch.
Cabinet interiors can be replaced with slide out shelf units to facilitate ease of access.
If you or a loved one desire to stay at home and would like to learn how a non-medical home care service like Home Instead of Lehigh County can help, call 610-770-7773.
Home Instead offers free monthly newsletters with tips and advice for caregivers of elderly loved ones.
Each Home Instead Senior Care franchise is independently owned and operated.