Growing older and reaching your “golden years”
can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Aging also presents some unique
challenges that you must face head-on, however, especially if you hope to stay
in your current home. This includes ensuring that you have hobbies to help keep your body and
mind healthy, but it also means making practical changes to your living space.
Here are five design tips for aging in place.
1. Redesign your bedroom
One of the most important areas on which to focus your efforts is the bedroom. There are many potential hazards in bedrooms, including the mattress itself. Finding the right bed for seniors can be a bit tricky, but it’s absolutely vital for your health. Determine which position you typically sleep in (side, back, or stomach) and take a look at mattress firmness with the right kind of edge support to help as you get in and out of bed. You might also consider decluttering the space and installing safety rails on the walls to give you a little extra support.
2. Widen doorways
Another design option to consider is to widen all doorways in your home. This makes it
less likely that you’ll hit a wall and seriously injure yourself if you fall.
It also helps ensure that wheelchairs or walkers can easily fit throughout your
home. You might need to have a bit of professional work done in the process,
but that’s okay—ask if the workers can raise your electrical outlets a bit to
make them easier to reach while they’re at it.
3. Create a safer bathroom
Another area of your home to focus on with
your redesign efforts is your bathroom. According to House Method, there are multiple ways you can
change up your bathroom to make it safe for those aging in place. Install
easy-grip bars in the shower space and no-slip mats in the tub to prevent
falls. Bathrooms can be treacherous, but they don’t have to be inherently
unsafe for seniors.
4. Go low-clutter
You might love your rugs, but they can be an
unnecessary risk. Consider going through your home and removing as much clutter and unnecessary
furniture as possible. Making your space a bit sparser not only makes it easier
to clean and traverse, it makes it easier to showcase the items that really
Change your hardware
This might not be something you’ve considered,
but small things like doorknobs and window latches
can make a big difference when you’re aging in place. Opt for levers rather
than traditional door knobs, for example, because a simple down motion is
easier to replicate than firmly grasping a knob and twisting it. This can be
significantly easier on sore or stiff hands. The same is true for window
latches. Awning-style windows are one of the best options for seniors as
they’re easy to open and close.
Aging in place might seem difficult, but it’s
not impossible. With a little work and smart design choices, you can enjoy your
home for years to come.