(StatePoint) More seniors than ever before are living healthy independent lives well into their golden years. And a vast majority want to remain in their homes as long as possible, according to the National Aging in Place Council.
However, most houses were not built to adapt to our changing needs as we age.
“The good news is there are many simple ways to make a home more functional for your needs as you age,” says Shannon Sims, marketing communications manager for Therma-Tru Corp.
By 2030, Americans 65 and older will make up 20 percent of the population. For those wishing to make aging-in-place easier, there are several things to consider.
• De-clutter Rooms: Eliminate clutter that could get in your way, such as planters and small console tables. Pay attention to area rugs and other tripping hazards.
• Evaluate Your Entryway: To ideally accommodate a wheelchair, the doorway to your home should be at least 32-inches wide. Even without a wheelchair, a wider opening can be beneficial when entering and exiting.
• Tweak Bathrooms and Kitchens: Lowering countertops in your kitchen and bathroom can make using them easier. And consider grab-bars for showers and bathtubs. Curbless showers and bathtubs with entrances that open can reduce falling.
Get a Grip
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 67 million adults will have doctor-diagnosed arthritis by the year 2030. For them, just turning a doorknob can be painfully difficult. Consider installing lever-style handles on exterior and interior doors. And choose ones with a multi-point locking system for ease of opening, such as those from Therma-Tru, which also provide greater security and stability.
“Making life easier can be as simple as choosing low-maintenance entry doors with easy-to-use levers instead of doorknobs. Or, to allow more fresh air and light into the home, a homeowner can request Vented Sidelites on their doors that swing open easily on hinges”, says Sims.
Upgrade Patio Doors
Patio doors tend to receive more traffic than front doors. If your patio door is due for an upgrade, you can choose the classic elegance of a hinged door or the modern convenience of a sliding door. Both are available in two-, three- or four-panel configurations to ensure a wide opening.
Above all, when adapting your home, keep an eye on making your daily life easier.