6 tips to adapt your home as you age

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As you age, you often become more aware of the arrangements and accommodations (or lack thereof) in your home.  At one period in your life, you may have had no trouble going up a set of stairs and maneuvering around the house. However, now that you are older, you may need a cane, walker, or wheelchair to get around. 

You may have a harder time grabbing items from a higher shelf or crouching down in small storage spaces. According to the CDC, about 36 million seniors fall each year, resulting in several injuries. Slippery or uneven surfaces play a significant role in falls. Changing your home to fit your needs as your age can prevent injury and make your daily activities more accessible and convenient.

Easy entry

If you have difficulty turning a doorknob or need to walk further into the home once you enter to turn a light on, then you may want to focus on an easy entry when you adapt your home. Changing the doorknob to a lever door handle may be easier for you as you enter. 

You may also want to think about moving or changing the installation of light switches so they are closer to the door and easier to flip on and off when needed. Creating an accessible entryway can mean less hassle when you enter your home, especially if you are carrying items or using a walker or wheelchair.

Changing the kitchen

When items are on the top shelf, it may not be easy to reach or get on a step ladder to grab the thing. Having lower storage options can be more convenient for you while you are in the kitchen. If you have a pantry, you may benefit from putting frequently used items on the lower shelves. You can also change the way your cabinets open. For instance, you can change cabinet doors that open to draws that slide-out. It can be easier to grab items in the drawer than bending down and reaching to the back of the cabinet for it.

You can also change the location of the microwave or the height of the countertops. If you are in a wheelchair, this can make cooking and heating food easier.

Enhance lighting

Eyesight changes throughout a lifetime. Your eyes can lose their ability to see well in dimmed environments. Installing more light fixtures and changing lightbulbs can increase your ability to see in each room. You can even install spot-focused lights on the underside of a kitchen cabinet or the bottom of the wall by a staircase. Considering adjustable switches can help you find the proper brightness for what you are needing.

Modify bathroom features

The bathroom has a high risk of falls due to the slippery surfaces. Modifying the shower with a shower bar can make it easier to balance when bathing. If you don’t already have a walk-in shower, you may consider installing one as it is easier to get in and out of. Changing the toilet to a different height can also make it less difficult on the knees when sitting down and rising.

Move the bedroom location

If you live in a two-story home and have your bedroom on the second floor, contemplating moving the master bedroom downstairs can be more convenient. Carrying laundry up and down the stairs can pose a risk for injury. Another alternative would be installing the mast closet into the new laundry room, so you can complete laundry and put it away all in one room.

Alter the outside of your home

You may have a cement path going to the front door of your home. Cement can crack over time due to extreme weather conditions. Fixing cracks and installing a handrail can decrease your risk of tripping and falling. If you or someone you know uses a wheelchair, you may think about adding a ramp to the front door or lowering the steps to make it easier for others to walk up.

Conclusion

Many modifications can be done to a house to help adapt to your needs as you age. Although you may need to plan and budget for these modifications, they can be well worth it to decrease the risk of falling and injuries. Many of these changes can improve the overall enjoyment of being in your home as well. 

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