May Is Older American Month – Are You Prepared For Aging?

May Is Older American Month – Are You Prepared For Aging?

Families plan and prepare for major life events; attending college, getting married, having a baby and retiring at the end of a career. Are you prepared for aging? Unfortunately, not enough people have some plan in place for events such as how we want our health care delivered should we become ill.

Most of us would prefer to live independently in our own homes as we age, however are not prepared for the changes that may occur such as becoming gradually frailer in both body and mind and developing numerous health problems over many years. The majority of people are more likely to begin incurring long-term care costs and needing home care assistance after age 75.

Aging in place has appeal for a lot of reasons: Your home is familiar, steeped in fond memories, comfortable; in addition, people who can stay in their homes successfully are happier and tend to live longer.

Here are recommendations on age-proofing your home and maximizing its usefulness throughout your life:

  1. Entrances: Make them easy to get in and out of your house with groceries, a baby or a walker. Aim for one or more entrances without steps to offer convenience and unlimited access for family, guests and elderly adults.
  2. Bathrooms: Design the bathroom for convenience and to help prevent falls. Consider what you, your family or a visitor using a wheelchair might need to get around. Make sure the walls can accommodate handle bars, and that the sink, shower and toilet are accessible to people of all ages, heights and mobility. A door opening of at least 32 inches allows better access, and a curb-less walk-in shower area is ideal.
  3. Kitchen: The kitchen is where people tend to invest most renovation dollars. Strive for an open design and varied counter heights (between 32 inches and 42 inches) to make it usable for various ages and abilities. Make storage accessible with pullout shelves and open shelving. Have a good blend of natural and artificial light for aesthetics as well as safety and convenience.
  4. Open design: The layout is popular for many reasons. It allows better flow of family and guests, presents fewer hallways and doors to navigate, offers greater freedom of movement and more flexibility in furniture layout, and makes an interior space feel larger. Sliding walls offer tremendous flexibility in allowing multiple uses for a single room.
  5. Bedrooms: If you don’t have a bedroom on your first floor, consider adding one. This option works for multiple life stages: new baby, college student, empty-nesters and aging parents.
  6. Windows: As we age, we need more light for reading and other tasks. Adding or enlarging windows is a terrific option. Windows connect us to nature and our community and allow people to easily watch their children and pets in the yard. Blinds or draperies offer a way to manage privacy and level of sunlight.
  7. Outlets, switches and doorknobs: Place outlets and switches at optimal heights and locations. Consider putting them where they can be reached while seated and by people of varying heights. Light switches that don’t require pinching or grasping will be easier to use. Doors that have lever hardware instead of knobs are easier to manipulate with a palm, closed fist or elbow when hands are full, injured or arthritic.

For additional information visit Granny NANNIES resource page – planning for eldercare

This noncommercial, long-term care Web site provides links to 34 in-depth chapters, totaling over 690 printable pages, from 9 experts and covering all areas of long-term/eldercare planning

For nearly 30 years, Granny NANNIES has referred professional care providers who have brought compassion, comfort and expert care to clients who are able to remain at home while surrounded by the people and things they love.

If you or a loved one are in need of assistance with activities of daily living or help in monitoring other health concerns, CNAs and HHAs are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for all ages and levels of care. Granny NANNIES believes in treating clients with the highest level of respect and dignity and maintains the commitment to excellence that it was founded upon in 1990. For quality, trustworthy, reliable and affordable care, Granny NANNIES is there.

Call 800-316-2669 for more information about hiring a professional care provider or utilizing other home health care services.