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Aging In Place Home Improvements

Aging in place home improvements
Aging in place home improvements

Posted on Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Categories: Windows & Doors  |  Decking & Railing  |  Remodeling

According to the AARP, approximately 90 percent of seniors plan on living in their own home for at least five to 10 years after turning 65. In kind, the number of remodeling companies providing aging-in-place upgrades has increased. Eighty percent of remodeling companies are making aging-in-place home improvements, up from 68 percent in 2013, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

Aging in place is cheaper and more comfortable than assisted living options for many people. A typical assisted living home is pricey, costing around $50,000 a year. In contrast, the national average of remodeling a home for aging in place is only $10,000.

Falls are one of the leading causes of death due to injury among older adults, according to the CDC, and falls are often the result of simple hazards such as throw rugs, stairs without railings, obstructed pathways, and wide spaces with no supports. For this reason, many of the procedures for making homes safer for the elderly focus on reducing the risk of falls. Some of these modifications need to be made to the entire house, while others are specific to a particular room.

Here’s a look at what you can do to make getting into your home easier and safer. 

Make Entryway Safer

A home’s entryways are particularly important for aging in place since they control access to the house. The entry points to a house also include steps in many cases, which always present safety challenges for the elderly. Some entryway modifications require significant time and expense, like wheelchair ramps and nonskid flooring. Other measures require slight changes to the home itself, such as installation of new light switches and railings. But many aging-in-place modifications are as easy and inexpensive as removing throw rugs and adding new light fixtures.

Add Outdoor Ramps

Adding ramps to a home’s entry and exits aren't just for wheelchair access. Even if your parents don’t use a wheelchair, a ramp eliminates the need to navigate steps, which can make maintaining balance difficult, even with a banister. Using composite decking and vinyl or metal railing with integrated lighting and ADA graspable handrails will provide decades of safe, low-maintenance beauty and functionality. You can also get indoor threshold ramps that you put in doorways to form a seamless surface to transition from one room to another.

Outdoor Ramp 

Upgrade Smart Home Technology

Technology has become one of the most important developments in helping people stay in their own home as they age. Home technology like medical alert, home security and remote monitoring or communication systems are particularly beneficial.

Wearable technology like watches, necklaces and even shoe insoles monitor your loved ones’ movement throughout their home, as well as their vitals. You can outfit doorways with sensors that alert a family or emergency care service if someone enters a door but doesn’t exit within a specified period of time, indicating they may need help.

Upgrade Kitchens

As technology advances, we are able to remodel our homes to make this lifestyle easier to obtain and give us the kitchens of the future as we age. Overall, the kitchen is one of the more dangerous rooms in the home. It’s also a room in which we spend a large amount of time. The following statistics are just a few of the reasons to prioritize a reorganization the kitchen specifically for an older person:

  • 90% of kitchen cloths failed cleanliness tests.
  • Foodborne disease causes 76 million cases of illness in the United States alone, according to the centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • Over 150,000 kitchen fires every year are caused by cooking equipment – with 460 fatalities.
  • Lacerations from kitchen tools account for 42% of hand injuries that are seen by ER professionals.
  • A home without a fire alarm is twice as likely to have a fire, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.
  • Unattended cooking equipment accounted for 45% of home fatalities from 2002 to 2005.
  • 34 fatal burn injuries occur each year from scald burns out of the kitchen.
  • After age 65, falling becomes the leading cause of death in the home, with many slip-and-fall accidents occurring on wet kitchen floors.

 Upgrade Kitchens

Upgrade Bathrooms

Installing grab bars or railing in high-risk areas like bathrooms and bedrooms gives anyone with mobility issues additional support and prevents slip and fall injuries. Install grab bars near the toilet, and in the shower/bathtub since these surfaces get slippery. Depending upon your loved one’s needs, you may want to install bars near their bed so they can get in and out of bed safely. Make sure your grab bar holds up to 250 pounds, and install it by screwing it into wall studs, not just drywall. 

Additional important safety modifications in bathrooms include installing heat lamps, widening doors, installing ADA compliant anti-slip bathroom flooring, securing or replacing throw rugs, and changing faucet and door handles to ADA compliant, easy-to-grip model.

 

[Source: Consumer Affairs, Aging In Place ]

Tagged:doors, decking, home improvement, remodel, technology, home safety, home security, kitchens, bathrooms

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