As our parents age we become the caregivers to them. With this new title we have certain responsibilities one of them being to help them in their quest to age in place. This requires us to go through their homes and to assess their needs. These needs will change as their health needs transform and it is our duty to help assist the remodels that are needed. Any home can be converted to meet the needs of aging adults. A remodel of this magnitude needs to be planned for and executed on a need basis. If your parents are able to age in place without the need of a wheelchair ramp then why would you expense this?
What accommodations can you look for as your parents continue to live in their own home to make sure their needs are met? What each aging in place remodeling job consist of will be dependent upon the mobility and needs of those it needs to provide for. Below is a list of remodeling suggestions that might come in to play as you plan for and begin your parent’s age in place remodel.
1) Doorways should be able to accommodate items such as walkers, wheelchairs, canes and scooters. Doorways should be widened to at least thirty six inches, the average size of a wheelchair. The doorway floor space should be clear for at least four feet on either side for maneuverability. Doors should also have handles that make for easy entrance and exit. This allows for them to grasp on to the handle without having to apply pressure and turn it.
2) The house should be all on one floor for aging parents. Ranch style homes are more convenient for aging seniors. Then there is no need to worry about parents using the stairs if there aren’t any. If stairs in their home is unavoidable look into stair chair lifts. This allows them to glide up the stairs with the use of a chair tat glides up and down the stairs.
3) All carpet should be redone with either hardwood or carpet with a short pile. This will allow for ease of mobility for wheelchairs, walkers and canes. Also eliminate thresholds leading in and out of all rooms. Many older people will tend to shuffle their feet and getting rid of thresholds eliminates the threat of tripping.
4) Bathrooms should either consist of a walk-in tub or a shower that does not contain a threshold. It is also important to add extra support so that hand rails can be used and braced properly. The bathroom should be ample in size to accommodate a walker or wheelchair. Facets should be considered for their ease of use and the water temperature should be adjusted to prevent scalding.
5) Kitchens have separate aging in place issues all together. Think about adding timers that are wired throughout the house for when the stove is on. Allow the stove to only be on for a certain allotted time before the timer buzzes. This will ensure that the stove does not get left on. If your parent is having a hard time getting around the kitchen area and providing meals hire someone to come in and cook and freeze meals that can be easily stored in the freezer and heated in a microwave. Another option is services such as meals on wheels which offer warm meals delivered to seniors in need.
6) Make sure closet accessories are lowered so that clothes can be easily accessed. Drawers should be on gliders with stops so that drawers are never accidentally pulled out on to someone.
As always are main concern is for our loved ones. We take their care personally and only want the best for them. Most aging in place seniors are set against moving into assisted living facilities until they absolutely cannot survive on their own any longer and even then are often resistant. These changes should be done gradually as this will help the senior in your life to adjust to the aging process and to their newly acquired special circumstances.