The majority of Americans would prefer to age in place, which provides an often less expensive alternative to assisted living facilities, keeps one in an area and with people and activities they know, and often provides self-sufficiency, confidence, and more psychological well-being. If this is your plan, how will you accomplish it?
One way is to plan now. Here are a few things you can assess and address.
- Take a look at your surroundings as if you were using a cane or had a sprained ankle. Are there trip hazards such as rugs, varying elevations at doorways, or cords that are in the way? Would you be able to easily get in and out of your door if your balance were off? If so, now may be the most stress-free time to address it.
- Are there things overhead that would be difficult to reach if your balance were off? Think of it as an opportunity to declutter and make sure there aren't heavy items on shelves overhead that could fall when you're reaching for them. Is your microwave low enough that if your balance were off and your fingers were stiff, you would still be able to remove hot food?
- Are there places that you may be more likely to fall, such as in the shower, toilet or on stairs? Make sure handrails and pulls are within reach.
- Door knobs require twisting, but lever handles require less fine motor skills. If gripping and pulling are challenging, such as with electrical plugs, see these easy-to-handle pulls.
- There are many, many devices to assist in the activities of daily living if you have problems with manual dexterity. We love these awesome Velcro adaptive pajamas but there are many other specially-made devices to help. For help with oral hygiene, take at look at these diy work-arounds. Having trouble tying shoes? These stretchy shoe laces make your sneakers as easy as slippers. For issues with toileting, there are many more options than a raised toilet seat.
- Opening, closing, peeling and all other preparations of food are challenges with many of age-related conditions. There are many devices to assist, but take a look at these simple tips for getting around in the kitchen.
Do you know of an adaptation or device that could assist with aging in place? Please feel free to share.