In the United States and other developed countries, the majority of older people live with a spouse until widowhood, after which most live alone for as long as possible until health and care needs make that impossible. Recent statistics show that about 7580% of elders own their own home, and about 50% of women 75 and older live alone.
According to statistics a greater number of seniors want to “age in place” – live where they have always lived. Their goal is to stay in their own home for as long as possible. Older adults, whether single or married, are the least likely to change residence compared to any other age groups.
Because most people want to “age in place”, home remodeling and adaptations is a big business. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) is taking positive steps in new construction and home renovations, and they’re calling it “universal design” and “senior friendly” homes.
What should your house contain if you want to “age in place”?
No change in levels on main floor or one level floor throughout house
Master bedroom and bath on first floor
No threshold at home’s entrance
Nonslip flooring throughout house, especially at main entryway
Open floor plan, especially in kitchen/dining area
More and better lighting with multiple directions that reduce glare and shadows
Handrails at all steps, even with one step
Leverstyle door handles
Bathroom grab bars near toilet and shower/tub area
Raised toilet seats with hand assists
Walk-in or wheel-in bath tubs and showers
Wider doorways to accommodate wheelchair use
Wheelchair ramp at home entrance
Call buttons to summon help
With careful planning and preparation, many seniors can safely and comfortably reside in their own home.
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