By Arar Han
We all want to spend our golden years in the warm embrace of our own home, where we have spread out our roots. But aging in place comes with its own set of challenges, and not all of them are apparent at first glance.
Mature trees have to adapt to their surroundings, growing around obstacles rather than being overcome by them. Similarly, as you age in place, you will need to adapt your home to suit your changing needs.
In this post, we will examine how to make your house perfect for aging in place so that you can continue to thrive in your home.
Making Your Home Accessible
Aging comes with physical challenges, and you won't be able to do all the things you used to. Everyday tasks often become more difficult. But your home doesn't have to work against you. A few simple modifications will make your home accessible:
• Install grab bars near your toilet and tub or shower. Modern grab bars can be an attractive addition to your bathroom, and they will help you balance when you need it.
• How long have you had that saggy couch? It's easy to get stuck in a couch that wants to swallow you whole. Replace those old couches and chairs with updated furniture that has firmer cushions and sturdy arms. Your back will thank you!
• Make sure everything is within reach. Don't forget about the extra supplies that you've hidden in lower cabinets and on upper shelves. You don't want to find out you can't reach the extra toilet paper when you need it most!
• It's time to address those slippery floors – falling is one of the top causes of injury for seniors. You can cover those areas with non-slip mats, or consider adding carpeting throughout your home.
• As we age, our skin becomes less sensitive to temperature changes, and it becomes easier to be burned by hot water without noticing it. Turn down the temperature of your water heater or install automatic temperature controls to prevent burns.
Getting Help With Everyday Tasks
It can be difficult to keep up with the maintenance a home requires, but it is important that these tasks not be left for too long. If the carpet is coming up or the door won't close, you are increasing your risk of dangerous falls.
You also don't need to live with that annoying leaky faucet or non-working toilet. If you find yourself unable to do routine maintenance, you can ask a handy neighbor or family member, or hire someone to come take care of these tasks on a regular basis.
If needed, get help with regular chores such as meal preparation, grocery shopping, driving, and laundry. You can use a service like Uber or Lyft to get around, or have assistants come to your home. Take advantage of these services to make your life easier so you have time to enjoy the things you love.
Getting Reminders About Your Medication
Many seniors have to take a variety of medication, usually at specific times throughout the day. All of those different schedules are difficult to remember! A medication reminder is a simple and very effective solution to prevent the misuse of medication.
Medication reminders feature individual containers for each of your different medications, and an alarm goes off when it is time to take them. They only let you open the correct container so you can't take the wrong medication by mistake. Some medication reminders can even phone or text you to remind you when it's time to take your medication. They will keep track of dosage times for you, so you don't have to always be watching the clock
Continuing to Age in Place
Aging in place is a wonderful thing. Being by your friends, family, and neighbors in the comfort of your own home is invaluable. Preparation is very important, and you will be thankful you made your home accessible before you were forced to uproot your life.
As you age, your needs will change, but the mature tree is flexible and resilient. If you realize something is getting difficult for you, get help to fix the problem before it gets worse. Don't let the weeds force out your roots!
Life is an adventure, and you never know what the future holds. It is important to have a good outlook on life and keep your leaves turned towards the sun. You don't have to suffer with tasks that are too difficult: speak up and get help. Keep up your activities and spend time with your friends and family. They will support your aging in place plan so that you can spread out your branches and enjoy your golden years to the fullest..
Arar Han is co-CEO of Alert-One, a personal safety technology and consulting firm headquartered in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, with offices nationwide. A Certified Aging in Place Specialist, Arar holds a dual degree in Philosophy and Human Development from Boston College, summa cum laude and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Originally from Seoul, she currently lives in Palo Alto with her family.