Often, people look to make a home safe for aging when a loved one has an accident or experiences an injury. Rather than reacting to an incident, experts recommend assessing your home well in advance to ensure it is safe and comfortable as you (or your loved ones age). Enter and move through the home with existing (or potential) physical and mental challenges in mind. Care.com shares six essential things to address when it comes to ensuring a home is aging-in-place ready.
First, clear pathways of clutter. What was once just a decor item or an everyday item can become a hazard if it becomes a tripping hazard or makes moving around the home more difficult. When helping an older adult declutter, be mindful that some pieces may have sentimental value; gentle encouragement may be called for if they have emotional attachment to certain items. That said, view every piece with a critical eye, whether it’s a stack of magazines, potted plants, piles of footwear by the entrance or storage baskets.
Next, consider what’s underfoot. Falls are the leading cause of fatal injuries in the U.S. for adults aged 65-plus, so area rugs and throw carpet can easily become dangerous with the edges or corners catching one’s step. Look to affix them so that they lie flat on the floor (or ditch them altogether) and also consider the safety updates that can be made for thresholds that must be crossed by stepping up, slippery floors or pieces of furniture such as footstools.
You’ll also want to check what the lighting is like throughout the home. Hallways and entrance ways should be well lit, along with key areas outside the home (think the driveway and stairs or path to the front door. You may also want to consider nightlights throughout the house as well. Read more about the importance of good lighting here.
For the other three areas experts recommend addressing when it comes to making a home ready for aging in place (including how to reorganize your kitchen ans safety devices to consider), read the full care.com article here.