If you want to make your home more accessible just in case you will need that as you grow older or whether you are making your home more accessible for an older loved one, you are not alone!
The aging of the baby boomer population is bringing changes to the US. The growth in the number of people aged 65 and older is “unprecedented” in American history according to the Population Reference Bureau.
Not only that, more people are choosing to age in place rather than go into a nursing home. According to the AARP, 87% of adults who are 65 or older want to stay in their current home and community as they grow older.
Making your home more accessible is a great investment in being able to maintain your independence as you grow older. Doing so will lessen the chances that you could fall or suffer some other injury that could result in your having to move to a nursing home.
Here are tips on steps you can take to make your house accessible as you grow older.
Build a Ramp
While you may think of a ramp as just for someone in a wheelchair, having one can help people with a number of mobility issues.
You can build your ramp using concrete, wood, or aluminum.
And make sure that the ramp’s location will give its user easy access to important inner rooms in your house.
Keep in mind that you will probably need a permit to construct a ramp.
A high bed can be a challenge for many people with mobility issues, so consider switching to a bedroom that is lower to the floor.
Not having to struggle to get onto a bed will make it that much easier for you or your loved ones to get a better night’s sleep.
While you probably think of a wheelchair when you think about widening doorways, many walkers are also too large to go through a typical door frame.
If you need to accommodate a wheelchair, your doorway needs to be at least 32 inches wide. If space is an issue with the interior doors, you can use swing-away door hinges to add some extra space.
One thing to keep in mind is that someone in a wheelchair might have a problem closing the door in a small bathroom, so you will want the door to swing outwards.
One of the most difficult areas for people with mobility issues is the bathtub. You have several choices to make bathing more accessible.
You can switch to a step-in shower. If you do stick with a bathtub, add a transfer seat to make it easier to move from a wheelchair to the tub.
In either case, make sure to add grab bars or handrails for additional support.
The toilet is another potential issue. You can do something as simple as adding a toilet riser. Or you may choose to install a special model.
Keep in mind that a bathroom sink with a cabinet below might be difficult to access and consider installing a wall-mounted or pedestal sink. These types of sinks have the space below to accommodate a wheelchair.
A Small Price to Pay
While upgrading your house to be handicapped accessible will take some doing, having the peace of mind that you can stay in your house as you grow older is priceless!