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4 Easy Aging-in-Place Projects for Seniors
Has Your Life Changed?
Are you aging and starting to experience mobility challenges? Most people prefer to stay in their current space when starting to age instead of going through the hassle of moving to an assisted living home. Taking the necessary steps to renovate your home to improve safety is crucial for aging-in-place. Increasing accessibility indoors and out, remodeling the bathroom for more space, organizing the kitchen, and clearing unnecessary clutter are all great remodeling projects that’ll help accommodate challenges that seniors may face and allow you to independently live at home. For more helpful ideas on how to renovate your home so it’s ready for you to age safely, happily, and healthily, continue reading below.
Increase Your Home’s Accessibility Indoors & Out
Entering your home without a struggle is crucial. If your home has a deck with steps to get to the front door, installing an easy-access ramp is the first project you should tackle. The ramp is designed to be used in all weather conditions and is ideally used for wheelchairs, walkers, and scooters.
Next, if your home has stairs inside, take a look at what will be the best option to increase accessibility. Chairlifts can be installed on staircases to accommodate both straight or curved designs. If there are smaller steps to get to one room from another, add a handrail if there’s not one in place already. If your home has multiple large staircases, a home elevator might be a worthwhile investment. Find a professional to come and evaluate your space to see what the best options are for your home. Adding these features to your space will make it much easier for you to be able to move around without any obstacles getting in the way.
Remodel the Bathroom
Next, take a look at your bathrooms. It’s crucial you have enough space to move around if you’re using a wheelchair, scooter, or walker. If your space is not safe, you should remodel all bathrooms for easier access to prevent falls or injuries.
If the shower is difficult to get in and out of, perhaps install a large walk-in shower with handrails and a seat to accommodate you. You might also want to install a flooring option best suited for wheelchairs. If your bathroom currently has tiles, be aware that they can become slippery when wet. You might also want to replace the vanity with a lower countertop option for easy access just in case. Poor lighting can also become a safety hazard. Increase the wattage of your bulbs for a bright and well-lit space that’s easy to navigate.
The bathroom alone can be a hefty project that adds up quickly—which can be stressful when planning to make other updates to your home as well. As a homeowner, you’ve more than likely built up equity in your home over the years.
Start by applying for a home equity line of credit and if you’re approved, you can borrow from the equity you’ve built and put those funds towards home improvement projects. What’s beneficial about this option is that it can be tax-deductible since you’re putting the money towards updating your home. It’s crucial to explore the best options possible to help you fund your home’s projects so you’re not hurting your finances in the long run.
Organize the Kitchen
Organizing the kitchen is important so you can easily access the cupboards and other areas like the pantry. First, you might want to utilize the lower cupboards for your main cooking utensils and dishes. This is helpful just in case it’s a struggle to reach cabinets that are higher. Next, consider installing a kitchen pullout pantry so you can see everything without having to shuffle around to find what you’re looking for. If the countertops are sharp, you may want to have them rounded out to avoid bumping into them and potentially hurting your side or hip. This will increase the safety of your kitchen as well. If your microwave is up high, move it to a lower cabinet to reduce having to reach above your shoulders. Minimizing the amount of reaching and lifting things above your shoulders will prevent any accidents such as pulling a muscle or losing balance.
Don’t forget about delivery services that’ll help you get your groceries without having to leave your home. Instacart, DoorDash, and Grubhub are all great services to use to order your groceries or meals without having to go pick them up. This is helpful, especially if the weather is not something you feel comfortable leaving your home in. You should also look into having your mail delivered to your door instead of your mailbox. These are all great ways to increase accessibility around your home and help minimize the number of errands you have to make.
Clear the Clutter
Clearing the clutter around your home is crucial to help increase accessibility. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that each year, millions of people 65 and older, experience a fall, and one out of five falls caused a serious injury. Those injuries consist of broken bones or head injuries. To help avoid the possibility of falling, start by getting rid of any unnecessary items lying around your home such as rugs, old or broken furniture, items on the floor, unused decorations, and unused electronics or wires. If you’re not willing to part ways with some items, create separate piles to keep, throw out, or donate. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from a friend or family member because clearing clutter in your home can be a big and long task. Once you’ve sorted through your belongings, organize your space, so there’s nothing that can potentially get in your way and cause you to fall. If your home is smaller and you don’t have enough space to store items that you’re not ready to get rid of yet, find a storage space near you to keep your belongings in safely. Clearing your home of any clutter will allow you to move around your home without any worry of something getting in the way making it much easier to peacefully age in place.
Aging should not deter you from wanting to stay in your home and enjoy it. Aging in place is doable as long as you make the necessary updates to your space to allow you to independently and safely live in your home.