While aged care facilities are a popular lifestyle choice for those in their golden years, other elderly people prefer to remain in their homes and receive home care instead. This way, they can stay close to family, remain in their community, and still have a sense of independence.
There are specialists in senior care who say this can be a healthy setup for older individuals provided you ensure your residence is safe and conducive for aging in place. And the earlier you prepare for it, the better.
One important thing to do is to find and screen home cares service providers in your area early on so you have enough time to choose the best option for assisted living. For aged care Melbourne specialists, check out Arcare. They have privately funded and government-funded in-home care services and provide various aged care options.
Preparing the Home to Age in Place Comfortably
Home design experts also encourage not to wait until the last minute to do the necessary upgrades for aging in place. But most homeowners tend to put off such improvements. This is usually because they worry about having to spend a lot on elderly-friendly renovations and that such changes could affect the value of their home in case they plan to sell it.
Renovation specialists advise to gradually do small projects and use “universal design” ideas. This way, you can allocate smaller budgets for each home improvement task and add upgrades that will still be eye-pleasing to potential buyers.
Get started with these home improvement ideas to make your home a safer and even more enjoyable place to live out your golden years.
- Make it easier to enter and exit by allowing enough space and better movement for mobility aids, such as wheelchairs and walkers. This way, you get to increase the flow and improve livability. A family with infants can also take advantage of these improvements when they buy your property since it makes it easier to use strollers even when indoors.
- Build ramps in several entry points.
- Widen the doorways by up to 32 to 36 inches.
- Add a first-level deck where you can attach the ramps. Aside from making it easier to get around, this can also pass off as a renovation project that was intended for increasing living space. Additionally, decks tend to have the effect of visibly improving a house’s aesthetics.
- Change your flooring with materials that are easier on the joints and help prevent slips and falls, such as cork, linoleum, and rubber.
- Make sure floors are level and smooth as much as possible. Avoid using rugs or thickly padded carpets. But if you have to, make sure they are firmly held in place with glue, tape, or sticky strips.
- Signal a change in floor levels by improving depth perception with a change of color, texture, or material.
- Make it easier to distinguish the edge of steps on staircases by painting the edge or the vertical part a different color.
Door levers can make it easier for those with mobility problems to open and close doors
- Upgrade to rocket switches. It can be more difficult for someone with arthritis and other mobility difficulties to grip a toggle light switch.
- Add dimmers so it is easier to adjust the brightness.
- Install two-way switches in the bedroom. Place them beside the door and at the bedside so you can turn on the light when you enter and then turn it off from your bed.
- Change your windows to bigger ones to allow more natural light and to improve visibility. This also lets you enjoy viewing the outdoors when it may become more difficult to go outside.
- Switch to awning or sliding windows since they are easier to open and close.
- Increase the height of outlets to 24 inches so you don’t have to stoop too low when plugging in and unplugging devices.
- If it is too expensive to redo your whole electrical system to accommodate the higher position of electrical sockets, you can place extension cords in strategic places.
- Upgrade to a walk-in shower with no threshold that is big enough to accommodate a bench.
- Install a handheld shower since it allows one to bathe more independently.
- Change your flooring to non-slip materials, such as small mosaic tiles or flat tiling instead of the round-edged type. You can also add rubber mats in wet-zone areas.
- Switch to an elevated toilet seat which makes it easier to sit down and stand up.
- Adjust the height of your sink, countertops, storage areas, and other parts of your workspace to make them easily accessible whether standing or sitting in a wheelchair. This should also apply to your bathroom.
- Go for open shelving or drawers and use D-shape handles so it won’t be that difficult to open and close compartments.
- If your current sleeping area is upstairs, it is best to make plans for relocating it to the ground floor to avoid accessibility problems. While you are not yet using this area, it can serve as a spare room for guests or something else.
Having Independence Even When Living with Family
If you share your current home with other family members and this makes renovations a bit more challenging, a good idea is to build a tiny home or granny flat around the property. This allows you to have your own space with the ideal features to age in place. Plus, you won’t have to move far from your loved ones.
By working on elderly-friendly home renovations early on, you are able to prepare adequately for accommodating in-home care services and equipment, spend on the right kind of improvements, and set up a living space that allows you to enjoy and be comfortable as you push through your golden years. Check out more of our articles here on Home Decor Expert to get additional ideas on the latest decorating trends.