The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that the number of Americans ages 65+ will increase to more than 73 million by the year 2030. The number of people ages 85+ will increase to nearly 9 million by the year 2030.
Among this group of Baby Boomers, aging in place is the most common (and growing) trend.
In fact, in HomeAdvisor’s “Aging in Place Survey Report,” the survey highlighted projects that are most important to those homeowners as they prepare to age in their homes. The report estimated that more than 70 percent of homeowners who are currently completing a remodeling project are doing so in an effort to make age-related improvements for either themselves or their parents.
So, what can adults do now as they prepare to age in place? The following are some helpful and simple tips.
Aging in Place – Tips to Keep You Safe at Home
#1 – Consider the location of your kitchen.
Ideally, kitchens should be on the main level of your home as navigating stairs may be more difficult for someone with mobility issues.
#2 – Adjust the height of the dishwasher.
Adjusting the height of your dishwasher can reduce the amount of strain required when loading/unloading dishes.
#3 – Leave space below your kitchen sink.
Adjust the height of your kitchen sink, or consider installing a motorized sink that raises or lowers. Also consider leaving space beneath the sink. All of this allows a wheelchair user to better navigate and use the sink independently.
#1 – Consider the location of your bathroom.
When aging in place, it is important to have at least one full bathroom on the main level of your home.
#2 – Consider space to move.
When thinking through bathroom design, keep in mind that space will become more important as you age. Consider the use of wheelchairs, walkers or other assistive devices, and plan for walk-in showers and more.
#3 – Adjust the toilet height.
One of the easiest and most important things you can do is adjust the height of your toilet. For example, a toilet that is slightly higher may make it easier on a person who is disabled or an elderly person who has had a knee replacement and has difficulty getting up from a seated position.
#1 – Consider safety handles.
When we’re young, we don’t think about getting into and out of bed. However, as we age, this task becomes increasingly difficult and can be dangerous.
Consider installing safety handles for increased stability.
#2 – Consider clutter.
Look around your bedroom as it is now. Are there things on the floor? Additional furniture that you really don’t need? Closets that are overflowing with items?
Clear the clutter and decrease your chances of accidents or injury from objects.
Store heavy items on lower shelves or on the floor, donate items that you haven’t used within a year or more. Consider getting rid of furniture to create more space to maneuver around your bedroom safely.
#3 – Consider the lighting.
As we age, our eyesight often diminishes. Make it easier to see where you are going by replacing old bulbs and/or swapping out lampshades. Increase your chances for natural lighting by replacing window dressings and keeping blinds open during the day.
Make use of automatic night lights in the evening to help illuminate your path if you have to get out of bed for any reason.