Aging in place comes with so many considerations, it can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to begin. You need to be mindful of both needs and cost to determine what’s best for you and whether you’ll be able to work around the issues in your home or if you want to downsize.
The doorway to the bathroom should be wide enough to fit a wheelchair or walker, and should be roomy enough to be able to turn around and easily maneuver with one of those items. A non-slip bath mat should be placed in the bathtub, as well as a grab-bar or shower seat. A rubber mat should also be placed on the floor to prevent slips; fuzzy bath mats require more care and are also trip hazards.
Kitchen counters should be low enough that you would be able to easily reach them while sitting. Islands provide more storage and workspace, but they take up a lot of room and could prevent a wheelchair from moving easily. Cupboards and pantries should be well organized with labels on the shelves, and all cleaning products should be moved to a separate area away from the food.
As an alternative to stairs, you might consider a lift or elevator. This will require quite a bit of work and should always involve a professional contractor to ensure the job is done well. Stairs themselves should be free of clutter, and railings should be sturdy and bolted well to the wall. Lighting should be added to the head and foot of the stairs if these are shadowy areas.
If your home has a lot of windows with good exposure, let in all the natural light you can. This cuts down on utility bills, and is great for individuals with vision impairments. You can also use ight bulbs that simulate natural light throughout your home.
Aging in place can be an overwhelming thought, but if you know where to start and prepare a good plan, staying in your home can offer safety and comfort for many years to come.