Written by Paige Mitchell.
Many people struggle when deciding whether to downsize, age in place, or move to a community. If you’ve made the decision to age in place, there are many aspects of your home that you’ll want to evaluate to ensure your house will accommodate any future needs.
Be sure to work with a contractor to make these modifications prior to needing them—you don’t want to be stuck in a position where you get hurt. Here are some basic modifications to think about to create a more accessible home.
Do you have a front or back porch with stairs? Consider installing a ramp, reducing the hazard of falling or tripping. Additionally, if your bedroom is on the second floor, consider moving to the first floor. Even if you don’t struggle walking up and down the stairs right now, it’s important to think about the long-term if you’re committed to staying at your current home.
Since the bathroom will be used every day, it’s one of the most important aspects of your home to consider. One simple addition is a grab bar next to your toilet to assist you when sitting down or standing up. You could also replace your toilets with ones that are higher up, making it easier to sit down and get back up. If you have to step over something to get into the shower, consider installing curbless showers to eliminate the need to step over anything when entering. Remember, even if it doesn’t seem like it’s a problem now, you want to remove any potential future hazards.
Sign up for home repair insurance to streamline home maintenance. These plans cover repairs and replacements of major appliances and systems, so you can keep your home up and running while enjoying the peace of mind when something breaks. You should also consider hiring help for ongoing household chores, such as cleaning, yard work, grocery shopping, laundry and dry-cleaning delivery. You should also consider setting a regular maintenance schedule with a trusted handyman to ensure you have someone to call if needed.
If you have a hard time reaching the cabinets or maneuver around the kitchen, consider hiring a meal delivery service to ensure you’re getting nutritious meals every day. You can also use technology to dictate shopping lists or get groceries delivered directly to your door. This may not be something you try until you absolutely need to, but it’s an option to keep in mind.
Health and personal care
Consider asking a family member to check in on you a few times a week and ensure you’re doing well. If you struggle getting dressed every day or have a hard time bathing, don’t be scared to hire someone to come in and set you up every day so that you can remain in your home comfortably and safely. In-home care is an option if you want someone to help you with certain things on a daily basis, such as activities that require driving.
When looking at the accessibility of your home, consider making a technology upgrade. With options such as Google Home, Amazon Echo, and HomePod, you can install accessibility in every room of your house to check on things such as the weather or your daily schedule. It would also allow you to call for help if you were to fall and were unable to reach your phone. Set up telemed communications with your doctors and providers and set reminders to tell you when you need to take medication or schedule appointments.
Hallways & Doorways
Ensure doorways and hallways are wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair. Consider removing flooring thresholds to help prevent trips when walking through rooms. Low-pile carpeting is a better alternative and consider removing area rugs as they can lead to trips and falls.
There are many ways to make your home more accessible as you age in place, whether it’s modifying the construction of your home or adding things to make your daily life easier and more manageable. It’s important to make your home as accessible as possible while you’re still able, so that you’re not stuck in a position where you have to leave.