When it’s time to retire, you want to be able to enjoy it to the fullest. The last thing you want to have to think about is modifying your home. But making some of these modifications can completely change the way you enjoy your retirement. Aging in place is a luxury not all seniors have, and if you would like for it to be an option for as long as possible, you may want to consider making some of these essential home modifications. Not only will they make life easier in ways you never imagined, but they also can help you maintain your independence.
1. Medical Alert System
A medical alert system can prove to be beyond valuable when you’re considering retirement living in Arizona. They monitor the risk seniors face and can alert emergency services, family members, and medical care providers of a problem. There are wearable options like medical ID bracelets as well as smartphone apps. This is an affordable option that can make a life saving difference that can allow for more independence.
2. Bathroom Modifications
Installing a walk-in shower or bath is going to make aging in place so much simpler for many seniors. Adding a seat to the walk-in will even further improve the bathroom situation. There’s less fall risk and a more comfortable bathing experience to look forward to. If this modification is too costly, consider adding a safety bar, safety strips, or both to the bathroom. These can prevent slips and falls, while also making it easier to get in and out of the shower/tub. A transfer bench is another great aid that straddles the side of the bathtub, enabling the user to sit on the bench to safely lift each leg in or out of the tub one at a time. Shower/tub chairs are the alternative when floor space is too limited to accommodate a transfer bench.
3. Smart Home Devices
Upgrading your home with smart devices makes things easier. It offers automated lighting capability, appointment and medication reminders, multimedia access, and video home monitoring. Getting up for a midnight bathroom trip is safer when you have motion-activated lighting. Smart devices like Fitbit can help you monitor your activity and health, while also giving you reminders.
4. Flooring Modifications
It’s a good idea to assess the current flooring. Slippery flooring may allow for better wheelchair and walker mobility, but it is also putting someone at risk of slipping and falling. Using throw rugs on slicker flooring isn’t a bad idea, but it’s important to remember to securely anchor them to prevent tripping and falling on the edges of the rugs and keep them from shifting underfoot. Old carpeting with a longer nap can pose problems for those with canes and walkers. A carpet with a short nap is ideal for seniors.
5. Install Ramps
Stairs can pose a problem for seniors, so when aging in place, ramps are a good workaround. When someone has issues with balance or is unsteady on their feet, outdoor stairs can be dangerous. There is little to cushion a fall, and other bruises and injuries can result. For those who use a wheelchair or walker, indoor threshold ramps can make it easier to transition from one room to another. Threshold ramps are usually a quick and easy DIY project that anyone can do when they’re non-permanent, mobile ramps made of rubber that you just lay down where you need. If ramps aren’t an option, adding traction tape to the stair treads can be very helpful in preventing slips and falls.
When considering aging in place and maintaining a high level or independence, making any number of these modifications can make a big difference in peace of mind. Some of these modifications are fairly simple and won’t break the bank, while others will require a real process and a significant monetary investment. Taking a proactive approach to the safety of your senior will save everyone costly mistakes and heartache.