These Modifications Can Make Aging In Place Easier Than You Think


In 2014, 12.4 per cent of the population in Singapore was above 65 years of age and this is projected to increase to 19 per cent by 2030. The increase in healthcare costs and limited number of professional caregivers has forced most seniors to consider aging in place. While a home can be considered a haven, as seniors grow older, that haven becomes dangerous. Accomplishing normal tasks can be hindered by objects such as stairs, doorways, etc and sometimes these objects can cause accidents. Therefore, before aging in place, you have to make modifications around your home in order to increase the level of safety and comfort.

Modifying your Entryways

Most seniors end up relying on a mobility aid, such as a wheelchair or a walker, to move around the home. In order to accommodate these mobility aids, your doorways and pathways have to be widened. Proper access for wheelchairs and walkers requires at least 42 inches of clearance for all pathways and at least 36 inches wide for doorways. If you want to keep your doors or you don't want them trimmed, you can opt for a more flexible type of hinge that will move the edge of the door out of the passageway hence giving you extra space. The entry points to a house also include steps in many cases, which are always challenging for the seniors. You should ensure that your steps are at least three feet wide, although a greater width is better. All stairs should also have handrails on both sides in order to provide secure support.

Lighting modifications

By age 75, most people require twice as much light as the normal recommended standard, and nearly four times as much as a 20-year-old in order to see satisfactorily. In order to meet these lighting needs, you can improve lighting on stairs and in the bathrooms either by plugging night-lights into wall outlets or installing overhead fixtures. It may also help to add under-cabinet task lighting in the kitchen in order to illuminate work areas that would otherwise be dark. Installing motion sensor lights outside the front and back doors would also be very convenient. Exterior lighting at the entryways is especially critical since all of the features such as doorknobs, steps and door locks must be easily seen and negotiated.

Modifying your bathroom

Modifying a bathroom for someone who is aging in place is very different than one based on aesthetics. Stepping in and out of the bathtub isn’t an issue for most younger people, but it may be riskier as you age. Lifting your foot up over the tub edge while also maintaining balance can become difficult in later years. You can opt for a walk-in shower which can be ideal in reducing the risk of falling since they have no tub attached. If you ever use a wheelchair, you'll need the that space under the vanity so you can be able to use the sink and mirror comfortably. This means that you should lower the sink counter and move your mirror to a level a little bit lower than average.

The best course of action to take when making modifications for aging in place is to ensure safety, security and comfort is guaranteed. This way, you will be able to avoid some of the negative impacts that aging can have on your quality of life.

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