Senior Citizen's Guide digital books
Senior Citizen's Guide

Aging in Place
Promoting Independence in the Home

In the past, if someone had difficulty living by themselves, it was a signal that now was time to move in with family or go to a nursing home. But, for most people, that no longer is the case. Today, you can live on your own for many years, even as you grow older and start needing help with everyday tasks. This is called "aging in place."

Americans of all ages value their ability to live independently. But without a plan for aging in place, it can be hard to stay in control of your life. Knowing your health risks and financial options can make a big difference in your ability to stay in a familiar place.

Entry Ways

The entry to your home is your connection to the rest of the world. It is important for receiving guests, for bringing in the groceries, for getting to appointments and for getting out to social events. It should be safe and convenient no matter what the weather, day and night, no matter what your condition.

Barrier-free entryways make it easier for a family member or friend who uses a wheelchair, or a grandchild who's on crutches because they've broken a leg or twisted an ankle, to gain access to your home. Examples of barrier-free entryways include:

No-Step Entries

The walkway leading from the sidewalk or driveway to the front entrance has no steps and very little, if any slope, to accommodate someone who use a wheelchair or has trouble climbing steps. A ramp is another type of no-step entry.

No-step Thresholds

Entryways leading into the home and into other rooms are not divided by a threshold, which eliminates a common tripping hazard.

Garage Lift

Enables someone who uses a wheelchair, or has problems climbing steps, to gain access from the garage to the inside of the home.

Bathrooms/Bedrooms

Space doesn't get more personal than the bathroom.You use it countless times every day. It should be comfortable, attractive and safe.To increase safety and accessibility in your master bedroom and bathroom, you should consider making the following home modifications:

Bathroom

Bedroom

Kitchens

If you love to cook, but find it difficult to bend over, or if you have a height limitation, there are numerous steps you can take to modify your kitchen to make it more "user-friendly," such as:

Lighting

Lighting sets the mood. Controlling natural light during the day and electric light when you need it makes your home personal and convenient.

One way to reduce accidents in the home is to make sure you have proper lighting where you need it. Outdoor areas, stairways, the kitchen area, the living room and other places where you like to read, are just a few examples where proper lighting is often needed.

Yard

If you maintain a flower or vegetable garden in your backyard, you may want to consider raising your beds at some point. Raising your beds can help reduce fatigue and stress on your back if bending over for extended periods of time is often difficult.

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