Aging in Place

Aging in Place

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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