More and more people have begun planning their remodeling and renovations with the idea of “aging in place”. According to the Centers for Disease control “aging in place” can be defined as “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.” One survey had 90 percent of adults over the age of 65 respond that they would like to stay in their current home as they get older. No matter what your age, it is never a bad idea to begin anticipating what needs will have to be addressed in your future. We’ll be talking about fall prevention today, why it’s important, and what are some easier changes that can be made to assist you or your loved one as they plan to age in place.
One of the biggest issues with aging in place is falling, in fact the CDC named falls at the leading cause of injurious death among older adults. With this in mind fall prevention is crucial to consider when remodeling, renovating, even decorating (throw rugs can be dangerous).
Many of the modifications that can be made to one’s home to prevent falls are quite simple. The addition of grab bars and extra railings are a great start when beginning to accommodate aging in place. It is vital that grab bars and railings are installed properly and securely so that they function as intended.
When renovating to age in place flooring is important to consider. Hardwood floors and ceramic tiles may look nice but they can also be hazardous, especially when wet. Non-slip vinyl, cork, and low pile carpet with a firm pad are great options if you are looking for a high traction surface.
Lighting is another important factor to look at for fall prevention. After the age of 60 changes in the eye and visual system begin to accelerate, resulting in less light reaching the eye, because of this more light is needed to see details. Light switches should be easily accessible, and don’t forget to add lighting to areas of your house such as staircases and hallways. Motion sensing light fixtures are great if you are prone to getting up in the middle of the night.
This only begins to scratch the surface of what changes can be made to help aid you or a loved one’s goal of aging in place. Next time we’ll talk about more extensive changes you can make to your home to help with fall prevention and aging in place.