Think about the one thing that we do every day and have done since the day we arrived on this good Earth?  We age of course.  Every day we get one day closer to being old.  The definition of old changes to us, of course, as we age.  In our teens we think twenty year olds are so mature and old.  By the time we are in our twenties, we are experiencing our first job; thirties we have the family and by our forties we have resigned that old is still really far off.

The truth of the matter is by the middle of our life we need to start thinking about the last stage and part of that has to do with aging and how to stay independent and living on our own for as long as possible.  With this comes a new territory to explore newly termed aging in place.  What this refers to is the fact that many people are aging well into their nineties and many people do not want to burden their children will the responsibility of caring for an elderly parent.

As we gain speed slipping fast into out golden years it is important to begin remodeling the space we live in with our future needs in mind.  For many of us this means that remodel projects start to include aging in place features that will allow us to continue to move about the home freely and safely.  The goal is to make sure that the home that we age in is safe for us, provides minimal maintenance and transcends into more barrier free living space.  There is a host of things to consider while aging.

Entering and exiting the home needs to be safe and secure.

  • Better and brighter lighting is needed in garages and spaces where the vehicles are parked.
  • Threshold ramps should be installed to provide a zero step entry into the home.
  • Handrails should be upgraded and be provided on all entrances and exits of the home.  Upgrades should consist of heavy duty materials and hardware that will hold up without loosening with extreme use.

Kitchen changes to ease access for preparing meals.

  • Faucets should be equipped with easy to use levers and an easy to use pull out nozzle.   This may come as a surprise but someday in the future it will be more convenient and easier for hair to be washed in the sink.
  • Shelves that pull out should be incorporated into the kitchen design.  This eases back discomfort and back breaking bends.
  • Refrigerators can be upgraded to allow for shelving to be pulled out.
  • The knobs on the kitchen cupboards and drawers should be larger and easier to grab onto.

It is so easy for an accident to happen in the bathroom.

  • Grab bars that are attractive yet fill the aging in place need should be installed in the shower and by the toilet.
  • Faucets should again be levered, as is true in the kitchen, this helps with stiff joints that don’t turn or grasp as well as they used too.
  • Showers can be modified to contain a sitting area and shower heads should be changed to removable ones that help get areas that normally are hard to reach for someone with limited mobility.
  • Toilets can be purchased at a higher height to provide comfort when trying to stand.

Moving in general around the home should be made easier with each renovation.

  • Make sure doorways can accommodate a walker.  This means doors should be a minimum width of thirty six inches.
  • Add extra lighting throughout the house.  Eye site tends to get poorer as we age.

There are many aging in place changes to make as the aging process happens and starts to turn us into people we know longer recognize.  Pretty soon we stop thinking about what is old and start thinking about the fact that when we were fifty we were so young and able to do so much.  It’s funny how age affects our frame of mind.