How To Make A Home More Accessible For Aging Loved Ones

One of the biggest fears for the elderly is the prospect of losing their independence. For starters, it means they won’t be able to remain in the home they’ve known for so long. An AARP study found that more than 90 percent of people over the age of 65 want to remain at home as they age. Aging in place is preferable because it allows people to maintain as much independence as possible, while also allowing them to keep the emotional connection they have established with their home. For families with aging loved ones, helping them age in place and avoid moving to assisted living can be a top priority.

Allowing an elderly loved one to remain in his or her home as he or she gets older also can be challenging when that home is not fully equipped for the individual’s changing needs. Dimly lit hallways, appliances with low access doors that are difficult to reach, and loose carpeting all are minor inconveniences for many, but become significant risks as people age. Nearly one-third of all people over the age of 65 report falling every year, and even a slight fall can lead to serious injury, lengthy hospital stays or even death.

The good news is that there are many simple things families can do to reduce the risks for their aging-in-place loved ones. By making a few changes to some home features that we use every day, families can be secure in the knowledge that their elderly loved ones are living in a safe and comfortable environment tailored to their needs. Their loved ones, in turn, can feel more confident that they will be able to live exactly where they want to be.

The accompanying checklist contains a number of tips families should follow when preparing a home for an elderly loved one. Many of these tips involve simple changes that can be made right away, while others involve a little more work. Some of them are do-it-yourself tasks, while others likely will require the help of a professional. In the end, all of them can contribute to allowing an elderly relative to remain in the home he or she wants to stay in — and that can be a true blessing for everyone. Getting older doesn’t mean a loss of independence is inevitable. The accompanying checklist can show you how to make that true for your loved ones.

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