A home is more than a place where you sleep and eat. A home is filled with love, memories, laughter, and of course, family. Due to this, it makes sense that 90% of seniors aged 65 years and older want to reside inside their homes during retirement, according to AARP. Aging in place is fantastic for many reasons, but it can also be dangerous if you do not make changes around your home. Here are five tips to make your home better for old age.
- Organization is key
If you have lived inside your home for an extended period of time, you likely have accumulated various personal items, such as clothes, kitchen supplies, souvenirs, and knick-knacks. If your belongings don’t have a specific place to be kept in your home, you might need to do some reorganizing and decluttering.
A cluttered home in retirement can lead to increased anxiety and insomnia and cause you to procrastinate. The first step to organizing your home is by going through your items to see what you can toss out and what you should store away. Start by creating three piles: What you keep, what you discard, what you can donate. Once you have gone through your belongings, store away your items in bins that are easy to access. When your items have a designated “home,” your brain will begin to feel more organized, as well.
- Slip-proof the bathroom
The bathroom is the slickest room in the whole house. Due to this, many falls and injuries take place inside the bathroom. For you to be able to shower and bathe independently, you should consider slip-proofing your bathroom. An easy way to slip-proof your bathroom is by installing an anti-slip floor. These types of floors have been found to give your feet the needed friction and grip to remain stable in a slippery situation.
Consider investing in a sturdy bathroom bench or chair if a flooring upgrade is out of the question. You will want to invest in a chair that has a non-slip grip, suction and can be adjusted. A bathroom chair allows you to shower in a secure area where the chances of falling decrease.
- Make entryway accessible
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 2 million older Americans use a wheelchair, and another 7 million uses canes, walkers, or crutches. With this information, you should be mindful of your entryway when making your home better for old age. According to Harvard’s Age in Place study, less than half of America’s homes have at least one no-step entryway into their home.
If you plan to live out your retirement in your home, you will want to make your entryway accessible for you now and in the future. You can make your home’s entryway more accessible by:
- Installing a ramp
- Make your steps non-slip
- Replace light fixtures
- Install handrails
- Remove throw rugs
Making your home’s entryway more accessible does not have to be expensive. However, if you don’t make any changes, your hospital bill might be!
- Remove tripping hazards
Did you know that falls are the leading cause of injury for senior citizens? About 36 million falls occur each year, and over 30,000 are fatal. To help reduce the risk of falling inside your home, try removing all tripping hazards.
Tripping hazards can be anything from throw rugs to extension cords to clutter. When aging inside your home, you will want to create an open environment. If you have any unnecessary furniture, such as coffee or side tables, consider finding it a new home so you can have more space to navigate through. Whenever you have a smooth walkway, you can walk more confidently throughout your home.
- Have emergency numbers handy
When you age inside your home, it’s essential to have all your emergency contact numbers handy. Old age often comes with a foggy memory, so instead of trying to memorize all of your important contact numbers, have them written out on a piece of paper. Make it easier for you by having these numbers hanging up on your fridge or by the front door.
A few emergency contact numbers you should include on your list are:
- Poison control
- Emergency contacts, such as friends and family
- Family doctor
- Local police department
Home is where the heart is, which is so many seniors choose to spend out their retirement inside their homes. Consider these five tips to make your home better for old aging, so you can ensure you live out a long retirement in the place you love the most.