We Want Our Seniors & Disabled Juniors to Stay in their Homes, But Are They Capable of LIVING In & Negotiating Within Their Homes, still?
AGING IN PLACE is the Terminology Used
Seniors, with and without the help and support of their adult children are deciding, everyday whether to move out of the house, home & environment they have known for years and raised their family or move into an assisted living community where they know fewer people than who live next door to them. They can choose to stay in their own house and safely, independently, and comfortably regardless of their age and ability level; with some changes and modifications that may cost less than the 1st year’s “cost” to live in the new, sterile, unfamiliar building with a lot of strangers who may or may not appreciate their needed sound levels, living schedules and family visitations.
What May Be Needed to AGE IN PLACE
Changes and modifications may be little more than “lever handles” on doors, drawers and plumbing fixtures, for people with arthritis; grab bars, atop stair steps, in doorways and in bathrooms for people losing muscle tone or becoming unsteady. Bathtubs can have sections cut out to be able to simply walk into them, making the tub a shower stall, when extensively changing a bathroom is not possible or beyond a budget. For those with deteriorating eyesight or macular degeneration, increased lighting, which can mean additional light fixtures or fixtures capable of brighter, i.e. higher wattage lamping, can open up the home to them again. More extensive modifications can be enlarging doorways and/or moving walls to allow for easily passing through doorways or down hallways with a walker or wheelchair. Extensive adaptations & modifications may include enlarging an existing bathroom or turning a bedroom into a bathroom with space for a roll-in shower stall, space to turn a wheel chair around in, vanity cabinet & sink that can be rolled under or up to. Adapting a single story residence having a basement can include moving the laundry equipment to a modified space on the main floor or installing either a stair-lift in the basement staircase or an elevator/lift between the basement & main floor. Home adaptability for comfort-ability & security can include electronic communication & viewing equipment to see who is coming up the driveway, at the door or in the yard. The one time cost of home modifications or adaptations can be less than the 1st year annual cost of living in a community center that isn’t designed for any 1 individual.
UNIVERSAL HOME DESIGN can = AGING IN PLACE
“Universal Home Design” principles include things, like many noted above, that have “equitable”, “flexible” and “simple & intuitive” use. Many items that fit with these principles can be incorporated into older houses by addition or modification. Many are incorporated in new house construction and when added to older construction, make the older residence a more desirable house to a greater number of people. While we think of “aging in place” and “universal home design” features as things that need to be considered for “Seniors”, one should not loose sight of the fact that anyone can be 1 common accident away from needing the exact same adaptations, modifications or upgrades.
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