Taking the Steps Towards Aging In Place
Old age — it’s a harsh reality that everyone eventually faces. The media has stigmatized old age as a bad thing. Some may view seniors as old babies who can’t function on their own. What the younger folks don’t realize is that even when a senior has joined the 65+ crowd, it doesn’t mean they suddenly become ignorant and incapable of living on their own.
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In fact, nowadays, many seniors have chosen to age in place instead of moving out to a retirement home. Aging in place centers around the idea of seniors making accommodations in their homes in order to stay in their homes as long as possible. Aging in place is a great step to take towards senior living. We compiled a list of tips you can use in order to take the steps towards aging in place.
Taking The Steps Towards Modifying Your Home
Even if you think your home is already a safe place to live in, it doesn’t hurt to make your home aging friendly. Small changes to your home can make a big difference when it comes to safety in your own home. We compiled some of the best tips you can use in order to take the steps towards aging in place in your home.
Take anything unsafe and age-in-placeify it.
Take a walk around your home and look around. In most individual’s homes, there are many hazards that one without an eye for aging in place many disregard as safe. It is important to put on (figurative) aging in place goggles while assessing your home. Here are some hazards to look out for, and here’s how you can make them safer.
Rugs make for beautiful decorations and can completely change the look and feel of your home. Unfortunately, rugs are also major tripping hazards for kids, adults, and seniors alike. Fortunately, you don’t have to sacrifice your rug just because you want to avoid assisted living!
A cheap, quick fix to slippery rugs are anti-slip grips! These adhesive grips attach to your rug and to the floor to prevent your rug from moving around. It’s a cheap way to make your home safe, and as a bonus, your rug will never bunch up!
If you are on the shorter side and use a stool to reach the top shelf of your cabinet, consider moving all of the essential items to a lower level that you can reach. Standing on a stool to reach for something can be a recipe for disaster, especially in older age.
If you don’t have a lot of cabinet space to accommodate all of the items you moved to a lower level, there are plenty of shelves you can put in your cabinet to optimize storage.
If you’re willing to invest a bit more money, you can have a cabinet that is designed for optimal storing.
One of the great aspects of aging in place is that you can cook in your home! Even though cooking is a perfectly safe pastime if you are cautious, it doesn’t hurt to be extra safe. If you have dementia, or if you have known anyone who suffers from it, you would also know that it can become impossible to remember small things, including if the stove is turned off or not.
If you have an electric stove, Wallflower Smart Plug is the perfect investment. The device is an outlet that plugs into your normal outlet. When you buy the plug, you also download their app. From the app, Wallflower will tell you, at any moment of the day, whether your stove is on or off. If the stove is on for an unusual amount of time, your smartphone will be pinged to inform you the stove has been left on.
The stove is the biggest concern to tackle when you choose to age in place, but we made a checklist of additional hazards to look out for.
- Disconnect the garbage disposal and only connect it when you need it. Try and throw away any food waste in the trash instead.
- Clean wood and tile floors regularly to ensure that you don’t slip on dirt or dust, or wear shoes with traction while in the kitchen.
- If you don’t have them in your kitchen, install nights under your counters for maximum visibility of your counter tops.
- Avoid cooking with loose-fitting clothing.
Invest in some nifty tools for taking the steps towards aging in place
To many, night lights are a senior staple. Every aging in place blog will tell you how important they are — because they are! Night lights are perfect for when you need to get up in the middle of the night but you don’t want to turn on the main lights.
Night lights help to reduce the risk of falls by — if it isn’t obvious — providing light during the night. It’s a simple investment that can potentially save your life.
As seniors age, one of the biggest tackles they may face when they choose to age in place is getting in and out of bed. Beds that are high from the ground require some acrobatics that some seniors may not be capable of in older age.
If you have lost some of your mobility, and if getting in bed is a hassle, the step2bed is a perfect product for you. Created by a former ICU nurse turned entrepreneur, the step2bed is a stepstool that assists you in getting in and out of bed. What sets the step2bed apart from any ordinary step stool is the features.
The step2bed is equipped with steel grab bars that have soft foam padding on the motion-activated light, and an extra-wide base to stand on that is height adjustable! The step2bed weighs only 20 pounds, so it is easy to transfer, and it has a weight limit of 400 pounds so it can be used by almost anyone!
Shower bars make a great investment because they are relatively cheap and they help reduce the risk of falls. You can buy shower bars at your local hardware store and install them with minimal effort.
Showers can be installed on the walls of the bathtub or shower, but they may also be useful if installed by the toilet.
An unconventional, but great addition to the home to help you take the steps towards aging in place is a smart home. Smart homes such as Alexa or Google Home can answer almost any question you have in seconds. All you have to do is say “Alexa” or “Ok, Google” and the smart home will activate and prepare to answer your question. Questions you can ask your smart home include (but are not limited to)
- What’s the weather today?
- How many more days till my birthday?
- How many calories are in an avocado?
If you want to get really fancy, you can get help making your whole home a smart home. By installing other smart products such as smart lights or a smart stove, you can ask your smart home to turn on and off various appliances in your home.
When you are taking the steps towards aging in place, keep in mind that aging in place is a process, and it doesn’t happen all at once. With a little persistence and patience, you can thrive in your own home as you age.