As we age, we often face decisions about where we will live and how we will manage our day-to-day lives. For many seniors, aging in place is an option that allows them to maintain independence, stay connected with their community, and live a familiar and comfortable life.
According to a University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging, about 88 percent of Americans between 50 and 80 want to age in place. However, 47 percent of respondents admitted that they have not taken the steps to safely and comfortably so do.
Many seniors desire to stay in their homes as they age, but accessibility and understanding from loved ones is a necessity for seniors to do this successfully. At Freedom Showers, we aim to empower our clients to live independently and age in place.
Our accessibility specialists have vast knowledge about the products you need to create a safer home and can help you explore our wide range of options, and our dedicated client service experts can guide you through the process and help you create a realistic plan to live comfortably and safely in your home.
If you are considering aging in place or helping a loved one to age in place, you need to know a few important things to make the experience safe, healthy, and enjoyable.
What is Aging in Place?
What is aging in place? Aging in place refers to choosing to remain in one’s home or community as one ages rather than moving to a retirement community or assisted living facility.
Many people choose to age in place as it allows them to maintain social connections and stay close to their family and friends. It can also be more cost-effective than living in a retirement home. However, some people with health conditions or impairments may have a tough time aging in place if their home isn’t catered to their needs.
The goal of aging in place is to help seniors maintain their independence, social connections, and overall well-being as they age.
Aging in Place House Plans and Modifications
Anticipating your future needs can be challenging because you don’t know what problems you may face and how you can solve them. However, making aging in house plans to the best of your abilities is essential to ensure you are safe and comfortable. Consider making the following changes to your home.
Renovate Your Bathroom
Bathrooms can be a dangerous place for seniors. It can be challenging to balance yourself on wet floors and slippery surfaces. The National Institute on Aging revealed that 80 percent of falls happen in the bathroom. These falls can lead to severe injuries, especially if the bathroom has limited space.
It’s important to create an accessible bathroom using the right products to prevent falls. You can trust our Accessibility Professionals to empower your independence as you revitalize your bathroom to make it accessible.
Install New Shower
The shower is one of the most important aging in place home modifications you should consider. It’s important to opt for accessible shower stalls to ensure that you can safely enter and exit the area without falling. Private homes don’t usually need to be ADA-compliant, so an accessible shower stall is an excellent choice for residential renovations. They share an essential similarity to ADA showers, such as low threshold, which is vital for safety and accessibility, as it reduces the risk of slips, trips, and falls.
If you want your bathroom to be ADA-compliant to enhance safety, you can also opt for ADA walk-in showers to further reduce the risks of falls. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has a guideline for shower sizes, threshold height, clearances, and accessory configurations to accommodate wheelchair users. Our ADA-compliant walk-in showers adhere to those guidelines. Additionally, Freedom ADA shower floors are textured for extra safety.
Consider Seats or Benches
Standing up and showering can be challenging for individuals with health conditions or impairments. Choosing walk in showers with seats can make it easier for you to comfortably take a shower and drastically reduce your risk of slipping and falling.
You can also opt for ADA shower benches to ensure that the seats meet all the requirements outlined in the ADA act. A shower transfer bench is created with a stainless-steel frame, and most of our Freedom Handicapped bathing benches can easily be folded and stored against the wall. Our seat options come in various designs, including teak, wood, phenolic white, closed-cell foam, and white padded, allowing you to choose a seat without sacrificing style for comfort.
Install Grab Bars
Grab bars are an essential modification for anyone at risk of falling. They should be installed in the bathroom near the toilet, shower, or bathtub. Grab bars should be securely anchored to the wall, and they should be able to support the weight of an adult. Choose from our wide range of grab bars including some that can be easily lifted and moved out of the way when unused.
Modify Your Kitchen
It can be challenging for people who use mobility aids, such as a wheelchair, to navigate the kitchen, especially if the countertops and appliances are hard to reach. Consider modifying your kitchen, lowering countertops, and changing appliance placement to make it easier to reach essentials.
Change Your Doorways
One of the other aging in place home modifications you should consider is the size of your doorways. A narrow doorway can be challenging, as some wheelchairs may not fit through the space. According to the U.S. Access Board’s Guide to the ADA Accessibility Standards, if you have to make your space ADA-compliant, it’s important to provide space for opening and proceeding through doors, doorways, and gates using wheelchairs and other mobility aids.
Although residential properties don’t need to be ADA-compliant, one of the benefits of aging in place is that you can modify your home to make it comfortable and safe.
The Benefits of Aging in Place
Aging in place can be a desirable option for seniors for many reasons. Consider the following benefits of aging in place.
Sense of Independence
Aging in place allows seniors to maintain a sense of independence and control over their lives, which can be essential for their emotional and mental well-being.
Freedom to Modify Your Home
When aging in place, you can modify your home to accommodate your needs without compromising style. As mentioned earlier, there are many ways you can transform your bathroom to make it comfortable and safe without sacrificing its aesthetics. For example, you can choose a walk-in shower base from premier bathroom shower pans based on your need and add custom tile walls that match your style.
Maintain Social Connections
Social isolation is a common problem among many seniors, and unfortunately, it can pose several health risks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), poor social relationships can increase the risk of heart disease by 29 percent and stroke by 32 percent.
Maintaining social connections is simpler for seniors who age in place, as they are closer to their neighbors, friends, and family members, reducing feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Greater Sense of Security
Seniors who age in place can feel a greater sense of security in their own homes, where they are familiar with the layout, security systems, and emergency procedures.