Many entering old age are reluctant to leave their homes, but concede that there are certain aspects of their physical surroundings that are not conducive to growing older. Some things become more difficult as you age, but that does not mean that you must live in a nursing home or retirement community in order to get the support you need. There is a way to live your life safely and in the comfort of your own home called “living in place.” Living in place, also referred to as aging in place, is a practice of someone who is physically disabled or elderly living in the space of their own choosing, and making that space work for their lifestyle’s limitations. If you are thinking about living or aging in place, it is important to contact and work with a living in place contractor who specializes in making the necessary home modifications. The following are four things to keep in mind when remodeling your residence to live in place.
Bathtubs and showers
A nice soak in the tub or a hot shower can often be just what the doctor ordered for sore muscles or even a low mood. However, tubs and showers introduce a lot of problems for those who have limited mobility due to old age or disability. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that almost 235,000 people over the age of 15 visit the emergency room for a bathroom-related injury each year. Many of these injuries occur when an individual is going into or coming out of the bathtub or shower.
One way to combat this possibility when remodeling your tub and shower area is to switch to a walk-in shower model. This limits the amount of stepping over obstructions when entering or exiting the bathing area. Another way is to install grab rails near the shower. That way, if you feel off balance or start to slip, you can grab onto a sturdy rail bolted to the wall.
It’s no secret to wheelchair users that stairs in residences can be a big issue. However, stairs also pose a problem to those with arthritis or poor blood circulation. Many find that their legs hurt or that they are out of breath by the time they climb or descend to their destination floor. The stairs can also be a falling hazard if they are not properly lit.
Installing a motorized stair lift or glide is one of the easiest ways to get around the stair problem. With a stair lift, you do not have to move to a one story home, and your guests may still use the stairs to get from floor to floor. If you feel you can handle the stairs but want to increase safety, consider adding more lighting to the steps to help guide you up and down.
Many do not consider their flooring when they think about reducing hazards in their home. However, uneven floors or slick wood and tile can be an absolute danger to those prone to falls. If you do not have the funds to fully level a slanted or uneven floor, consider adding more rugs to your home, especially in slicker areas like the bathroom or kitchen.
Remember, though, to affix a rubberized backing to the rugs so that you do not trip over them. This can be just as bad as falling on a slippery floor.
Make room for mental health
Boosting your mood as you go through the aging process or cope with a physical disability is critical to your mental health. Make sure your home has room for you to do the things you love, such as painting, puzzles, or cooking. Spending time on recreation or creativity will greatly improve your mental health.
Additionally, it’s important to make sure you are getting enough sunlight in your life. Sunlight has been shown to increase the production of serotonin, a hormone critical to fighting depressive moods. If you do not have the space for a full-blown sunroom installation, which would be a great way to get your dose of vitamin D, consider opting for a large bay window.
As people age, their environments should be adapting to match their needs. Whether it’s small changes you can make on your own or larger projects that require the help of skilled experts, always be sure your home is equipped to ensure daily life is as easy and comfortable as can be.