The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines aging in place as “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.” According to The National Aging in Place Council, the idea of aging in place has gained popularity in recent years and many Americans are choosing to stay in their homes as long as they can.
In order to achieve this goal, homeowners may need to consider accommodations to ensure the accessibility of their homes. Handrails or chair lifts for stairs may be added to provide stability in cases of decreased mobility. Floor materials may be changed, trip hazards eliminated and sufficient lighting included on frequently traveled paths.
Key Considerations to Make Aging in Place a Reality
When trying to ensure your home provides reasonable accommodations for the future, consider the following:
- Entrance and exit to the home – are stairs currently used to gain access to the home? Can a ramp or lift be added?
- Stairways – are necessary rooms located on upper or lower landings? How will you continue utilizing all floors of your home? Consider the addition of a residential elevator, wheelchair lift or stair lift to easily transport passengers from one floor to the next.
- Flooring – consider items that may be trip hazards. Evaluate flooring material and remove any rugs that may create a barrier for primary paths through the home.
- Lighting – ensure there is appropriate lighting on all highly trafficked areas.
- Additional remodeling – are there items that need to be remodeled to make the home accessible? Think through your day to day routine and consider things like ease of reaching kitchen cabinets, using the restroom, taking a bath or shower, etc.
Planning ahead to make sure you have easy access to all of the necessary areas of your home will allow aging in place to become a reality. If you have questions or need assistance, a Certified Aging in Place Specialist can provide assistance in determining how to appropriately modify your existing home so that you can stay there for years to come. Many modifications can be made by the homeowner, but when it comes to providing access to all floors of the home, you may need assistance. Reach out to a local home elevator company, many of whom have Certified Aging in Place Specialists on staff, to receive a consultation on your situation.