When your plans for your senior years or those of your parents or loved ones include aging at home, it becomes time to invest a few dollars to make some adjustments or renovations to your home. The goal is pretty basic — increase your safety and comfort in the home and prevent future hospitalizations or the need to move into an institutional setting. Many changes can be made immediately and with little expense. Now’s the time to make them. Planning ahead can help avoid the stress that comes when dealing with unexpected injuries or falls. Being able to live safely at home makes a difference in your quality of life and allows you to be more independent as you age. Some things you should do include:
*Make sure all areas of the home are well lit using at least 60-watt bulbs. Make sure there are night lights in the bathrooms and all hallways. Keep a flashlight in every room in case of a power failure.
*Remove all throw rugs or make sure they are secured with double-sided tape or a non-skid mat.
*Clear all clutter out of the house and make sure nothing blocks any of the walkways or halls.
*Be sure emergency phone numbers are posted near the telephone.
*You should have working smoke detectors on every floor and in the bedrooms.
*All stairways should have a handrail on each side and you should have light switches at both the bottom and the top of the stairways.
*Switching out doorknobs with levered handles makes it much easier for arthritic hands to open and close doors.
*Furniture needs to be arranged so there’s plenty of space for walking. Get rid of any chairs that have rollers on the legs.
*A working fire extinguisher that’s easy to get to is a must.
*Closets need a light inside and rods and hooks may need to be lowered to be more accessible.
*Outside, all the entrances should be well lit and any steps need to provide good traction with a textured surface to prevent slips and falls.
*The door locks should be easy to operate and the house numbers should be easy to read in case emergency personnel need to find the house.
*Installing a peep hole on the exterior doors adds an extra measure of safety.
*Shrubbery and branches should be trimmed away from the home to provide an unobstructed view from the doors and windows.
Making these inexpensive changes to the home can make the difference between staying safely and comfortably in the home or moving to an institution. What changes have you made to ensure independent living in your home? Share below and visit us at