Aging in place allows you to keep your heart at home - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

Aging in place allows you to keep your heart at home

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Look for an easy step-in, step-out design with anti-slip floors and internal grip bars that allow you to safely - and independently - bathe in your own home (© ARA Content) Look for an easy step-in, step-out design with anti-slip floors and internal grip bars that allow you to safely - and independently - bathe in your own home (© ARA Content)

Home really is where the heart is. Upon retirement - when all of their children have moved out of the house - 90 percent of Americans age 60 and older choose to stay right where they are, according to 20 years of data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

And because so many Americans are aging in place, they're looking for ways to make their homes safe and comfortable for the long term. With just a few modifications, retired couples can make their homes perfect sanctuaries for their golden years. Here are some modification ideas to help you keep your heart right at home:

Stay connected to the outside world
Staying connected is important for many seniors, especially if they aren't able to get out of the house as frequently as they used to. There are video/television systems and services available that allow you to chat with a person from a care program while sitting at your dining room table. Program staff can also monitor your house and contact a relative or emergency service if they notice you haven't moved in awhile. Some couples enjoy the interaction they have with the person on the other end of the video cameras, while others appreciate knowing that if they were to fall or get sick, someone would notice and respond immediately.

Redesign the bathroom
Independence is also very important for seniors, and this is especially true in the bathroom. Climbing over a bathtub wall becomes more difficult as people age, and can also make the bathroom very dangerous for slips and falls. Look for an easy step-in, step-out design with anti-slip floors and internal grip bars that allow you to safely - and independently - bathe in your own home. Many models have doors that seal shut, allowing you to sit down prior to running any water, which can help prevent a slip or fall. Hydrotherapy jets also add additional health benefits, so you can comfortably soak as long as you want.

Don't forget your car
If you plan to stay active in your community, you may need to make adjustments to your vehicle so you can safely and easily negotiate the controls from behind the wheel. Car manufacturers are adapting vehicles to accommodate seniors with such options as seats that swivel to face out the door so you can sit down or stand up easily and not have to bend down at an angle to climb into the seat. Other available adapters are dashboards that push back until the driver is in the seat and ready to start the car, buttons to control the radio and temperature on the steering wheel, and sliding cabinets that help a person load items into the trunk - and get them out easier.

Ramp it up
Make your home easily accessible. At least one entrance should be level with the walkway - you may need to build a ramp to accomplish this. Also consider changing the door handles to lever style so if a person is suffering from arthritis, they can still easily open the door. Remote locks and a covered walkway are also a good idea, because you won't have to be standing out in the elements while you attempt to unlock the door with a key. The covering also helps prevent ice from building up along the walkway. Finally, installing a good light at all the entrances will allow you to easily see where you are going and any potential obstacles that might be in your way.

With a few modifications, your house can be a very comfortable and safe haven for many years to come. And since it's already a place you call "home," why not enjoy it during your retirement years?

Provided by Zon Walk-In Bath

 

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