You’ve worked hard to turn your house into a home and if the idea of leaving it for a retirement residence fills you with anxiety and dread, you’ve come to the right place. You deserve, if possible, to stay in your home as long as you wish.
But, to make this goal a reality, you must prepare in advance for potential changes in mobility and/or declining health.
Given the growing costs of retirement home living and the long waitlists for nursing care, following these tips can go a long way to allowing you to age in place and remain at home.
Here are some things you can do to remain independent and in your home for as long as possible:
It may sound simple, but adding additional lighting can make a real difference.
Install light switches at the top and bottom of staircases and add nightlights in hallways and bathrooms. Consider increasing the wattage in existing overhead lights and lamps.
If necessary, consider adding floodlights or motion sensors outside the home to help you navigate outdoors after dark.
Install Non-Slip Surfaces
Slips in the shower or bathtub can lead to serious injury. Installing non-slip stickers or bathmats can help keep you upright. It is also a good idea to consider getting a bath chair and a detachable showerhead so you can bathe sitting down.
Think about adding a grab bar in the shower/bathtub and/or near the toilet. If installing a grab bar, make sure it is well anchored.
Install Lower Shelves
To decrease injury risk, eliminate the reach! Lower current shelves or install new ones that are not so high. It is also a good idea to rearrange all cupboards and pantries so that frequently used items are easy to get to and do not require climbing or reaching.
Remove Tripping Hazards
Decrease your risk of falling by eliminating indoor tripping hazards. This means removing any rugs and mats (especially lightweight ones), elevate cords, and decrease the amount of clutter in high traffic areas.
Reduce or Eliminate Stairs
Stairs are not only difficult for people with arthritis and joint pain, but they can also be a tripping hazard. Reducing or eliminating stairs may require renovations, relocation, or the rearranging of rooms. For example, if your bedroom and bathroom are on separate floors, consider moving your bedroom to the same floor.
If you do not have stairs inside your home, do not forget any stairs that may be outside. If you have a porch or front steps, consider adding a ramp. It is also a good idea to install railings on steps and decks if they do not already have them.
And finally, put some sort of traction or non-slip surface on all steps and stairs, inside and out.
If you are going to stay in your home, it is important that you can easily access assistance and support when you need it. Program all house and cell phones with clearly labeled emergency contact numbers so that you, or someone else, can reach out quickly should the need arise.
Get Help Around the House
While it is important to stay active, there are some tasks that may present a greater risk than they are worth.
Consider hiring a cleaning service to handle all of your tidying tasks. If your home has a yard or a laneway, make arrangements for lawn care and snow removal well in advance so you aren’t scrambling with the change in seasons.
Get Social Support
Social interaction is one of the most important factors in keeping people healthy at all ages. Whether you are looking for someone to share a cup of coffee with or need advocacy and support during medical appointments, reaching out to an agency like Heart to Heart Seniors Services could be exactly what you need. These professional caregivers can customize their services to meet your unique needs, providing a level of care that is perfect for you.
If it is your sincere hope, and goal, to stay in your home, planning is critical. By taking action early, you can ensure that your house is as safe and accessible as possible. Moving does not have to be inevitable!