I have the best grandmother in law. She is highly independent, full of spunk and insistent that she will forever live on her own. In order to understand my concerns you must understand she is in her eighties, has been in several severe car accidents and has recently had her hips replaced. She has a rod holding her back in place and has a limited range of motion in her neck. The scariest part of her accidents was one car crash that landed her in a halo. It is very disturbing to see a loved one in head gear that limits their mobility that much. Through this entire time Gram has stated that she will continue to live in her own house without aide from a daily helper.
After her hip replacement she was in a rehab facility that was very close to where we all live. We thought for sure we had her hook line and sinker into moving closer to us in one of these assisted living facilities. Boy was that the wrong thing to hope for. Gram is very independent and wants to continue living in that manner. It might be scary for us but this is her life and she has lived long enough and through enough that she is allowed to make these decisions on her own.
In order to help her age in place we brought in a general contractor that specializes in aging in place remodeling. One of the major areas of concern for us was the fact that she still insisted on doing her own laundry which is in the basement of her home. In order for us to feel safe for her to continue with this practice we needed to install a chair lift. This was a very easy fix after all. The chair lift was a bit pricey but the installer was able to complete the whole project in a weekend and she is now able to go up and down the stairs without us having to worry. She sits in the lift buckles in and away she goes.
There were a few issues that we had concerns about within the house. For instance there are times when her knees are very weak. For this we had installed a seat within her shower and grab bars around the tub and toilet. This alleviates the issue of her needing extra support. We were also concerned with the door handles. She often has a hard time gripping them so we had the handyman come in and install levers. These are much easier for her to use.
There are many different products available for purchase to help seniors age in place. If you have someone in your life that is not interested in going to one of those and I will quote Gram, “places where old people live.” mind you now she is in her eighties, hire a contractor who specializes in age in place remodeling. They help make their home safe and help them keep the independence they so desire.