How to Safely and Comfortably Age in Place

This week is National Aging in Place Week! What is Aging in Place? Aging in Place is, “The ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.” It’s a term that is becoming more commonly used and one that older Americans want for themselves. Being able to stay safe and independent in your home requires some long term planning.

The question that hovers above all the rest is “How do I move through this environment, to accomplish the Activities of Daily Living?”

Activities of Daily Living (or ADL for short) are the routine activities that we all engage in, and which we prefer to perform without needing assistance. Here at HandyPro, our home or workplace evaluation process concentrates on: eating, bathing, toileting and transferring (walking or otherwise moving from place to place).

Before getting into the inside rooms, let’s take a look at how we are getting in and out of the house…

1. Do we have a barrier-free entryway that would allow for a walker or wheelchair to easily navigate through?

For smaller transitions, of a few inches or less, a simple Threshold Ramp may be enough, but for a doorway more than 5 inches above the ground, you will need to consider an ADA compliant ramp (metal or wood), which requires a ratio of 1 foot of ramp for every 1 inch of rise to the entrance (or 1:2 for motorized mobility assistants like scooters or power assisted wheelchairs).

 Sometimes, for considerations of both space and cost, a Vertical Lift, seated on a flat cement pad, can be an equally appealing solution.

2. Once inside the home, are the sleeping, eating, food preparation, laundry, bathing and toileting options all on one floor?

If so, you will want to make sure the walkways are free from obstacles, such as throw rugs or clutter and you may want to consider adding handrails along certain walls, for additional stability and fall prevention support.

If not, you can consider items ranging from additional railing support, transition grab bars, Continuous Handrails for corners or gaps in railing support, or consider a straight or curved Stair Lift System, as your needs evolve.

3. Are all the doorways 36" or wider?

We can widen existing doorways, use swing-away hinges to gain additional space, install pocket doors, or switch to a double French door option.

4. Once inside the kitchen, bedroom or bathroom, are all light switches and surfaces accessible? Are shelving & storage areas easy to reach? Can the sink and faucet be used, or roller under, if you or someone you loved was permanently or temporarily using a wheelchair?

5. Could you get easily in or out of the shower or tub?

From grab bars to transfer seats, we can enhance the safety of your existing tub. Or we can overhaul and transform your bathroom using a range of tub and shower conversion solutions, from barrier free, roll-in ready units, to the spa-like walk-in tubs with easy entry doors, we can tailor the solution to whatever special, aesthetic or safety needs you may have.

These questions are an excellent starting point when deciding how you can safely and comfortably “Age in Place.” If you are interested in getting modifications to your home, call HandyPro at (248) 780-8950 for a free in-home assessment!