How does an American senior plan for aging? Many choose to live alone, or “age in place” which has far reaching benefits for the individual and family. Did you know that 87 percent of Americans age 65 and older want to stay in their current home and community as they age? There are reasons why American seniors are choosing to age in place and not all of them emotional. The aging population now has more financial resources and better health due to improvements in medical health care and healthy living compared to previous generations. This favorable financial situation allows more flexible options for a secure retirement than ever before. Here are a few suggestions on how to prepare the home for aging in place.
Falling is a concern for the elderly therefore homes equipped for aging in place have slip-resistant surfaces, especially in wet areas of the house like the bathroom. Handrails and grab bars in the shower are a smart addition to prevent accidents. An accessible roll in shower with multiple shower heads is a good investment. Also, the bathroom sink should be lowered to ensure there’s proper knee clearance.
Other helpful fixes include eliminating steps in the all the entryways to offer convenience to guests of all ages. According to studies, only 1% of homes are ready for aging in place, those are open concept, one level floor plans that are best for seniors. The kitchen where homeowners spend the most renovation money should have an open design and varied counter heights for accessibility. Some seniors install pullout shelves and open shelving for convenience of storage.
Aging in place is a practice that is becoming more common for American seniors. A home that is well prepared and equipped for an aging homeowner will ensure the comfort and safety of the senior for years.