The decision to age in place in an older home is one often fraught with emotion. Your quality of life may be on the decline. However, you can't imagine leaving the shelter of the walls that witnessed so many memories throughout the years.
In addition to sentimental reasons, there are also some practical and financial reasons for aging in place. It's cheaper. It costs, on average, between $9000 and $12,000 to make your home accessible. A nursing home can cost tens of thousands annually.
Here are a few ways to make the process simpler.
MAKE IT ACCESSIBLE
According to a study performed by AARP, most older homes are not accessible or conducive to aging in place. If you want to remain in your beloved home, you will have to make some adaptations. Following are a few projects that will make your home more accessible as you get older:
Widen entries and doorways to at least 36 inches
Widen stairways and create deeper treads
Install handrails and safety rails
Install ramps in key areas
Lower electrical switches
Lower counter heights
Install accessible shower stall and bath
The key to aging in place gracefully is outfitting your home appropriately before the need arises. Nobody knows what health issues they will potentially face, but most older people have mobility issues. Remodel your home with this in mind.
GET SMART TECHNOLOGY
We live in a connected world, which makes aging in place safer than ever before. Install smart technology in your home so your family can monitor you while you maintain your independence.
There are systems available that will alert your family if you deviate from your usual routine or contact emergency personnel using your voice command. You can also see your doctor from the comfort of your home via video conferencing.
Don't worry about not knowing how to operate technology. Most newer technologies are easy to use even for people who are not familiar with them.
USE A DUMBWAITER
One out of every four Americans over the age of 65 falls each year. That's one fall in the United States every 11 seconds.
One of the best ways you can prevent falls is to avoid carrying things, such as laundry and cleaning supplies, from one floor to another. You can do so using a combination of a laundry shoot and dumbwaiter. These conveniences are easy to install even in older homes.
INSTALL AN ELEVATOR
What if it gets difficult for you to access the upper floors of your home? A chairlift or elevator will allow you to easily move from floor to floor without risk of injury. They will also help you transport heavy or bulky items upstairs, which will further increase your independence.
Elevators are available in a wide range of sizes and styles to perfectly suit your needs, home construction and decor. Especially large elevators, however, may not fit older structures. Your elevator company can help you choose the perfect size and model for your home.
TAP IN TO SOCIAL PROGRAMS
Numerous social programs, such as Meals on Wheels and at-home nursing care can help you remain in your home even if you're in poor health. To find out which programs are available in your area, contact your local senior citizen organization. You can also speak with a Certified Aging in Place Specialist or caseworker. Both can connect you with programs that suit your individual needs.
Some programs may offer grants that will help you pay for any changes your home may need. In addition, you may be able to tap into your home's equity to make the necessary changes to your home.
If you're having trouble getting around your older home, call Waupaca Elevator Company Inc. today to see how a lift, elevator or dumbwaiter can improve your quality of life and ability to care for yourself.