Millions of older adults potentially will want to stay in their homes as they age, but homes may have pitfalls that could sabotage that plan. Let's identify the common home pitfalls you or a loved one could face at home, and some ways to fix them to make the home safer.
- Tubs, Showers and Toilets Sunken showers and tubs below floor level, slippery steps and nothing to hold onto make for an accident waiting to happen. The fix: Talk to a home remodeler about replacing the tub with a curb-less walk-in shower.
- Thresholds Even a threshold (or step up) into a house of 6 inches could be a challenge for someone with a walker or in a wheelchair. The fix: A removable ramp or a lift can make for easier entrances and exits.
- Stairs Stairs aren’t always designed for those with balance or mobility issues. Railings often are only on one side of stairs and lighting in entrances may be inadequate. The fix: Look into the option of adding a stair lift or glide. Additional handrails could also help.
- Floors Material used to design both bathroom and kitchen floors could be slippery. The fix: Runners with rubber backing or throw rugs are an inexpensive solution.
- Lighting Inadequate lighting could be an issue in several areas of the home including entrances, bathrooms, hallways and bedrooms. The fix: Upgrade to LED bulbs, which are brighter and have the potential for a longer service life.
In a survey conducted by Home Instead, Inc., nearly 80 percent of the North American homeowners between ages 55 and 75 surveyed said they had given at least a little thought to what they will need or need to do to age in place.* Forethought and planning could help Baby Boomers and seniors age safely wherever they call home.
* Home Instead, Inc., franchisor of the Home Instead network, fielded an online survey of 1,000 North American homeowners aged 55-75 years. Of these 1,000 respondents, 899 live in the United States and 101 live in Canada. Sampling was conducted to balance age, gender and geographic region.
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