While many can only dream of the day they’ll retire, for Baby Boomers, that dream is becoming a reality. But retirement doesn’t necessarily mean relocating to a senior community. More and more, adults choose to “age in place,” remaining in their current home, even after retirement. Here are a few ways to add extra convenience today – and ensure a safe home in the future.
Change Up Common Areas
When thinking about the long-term, start with the layout. In a perfect world, it’s ideal to have all the key living spaces – bathroom, kitchen, and bedroom on the first floor. If your home wasn’t built with a first-floor bedroom or bath, and stairs have to be a part of your plan, install no-slip strips on the edge of each stair to limit trips and falls.
Next, make sure there’s plenty of room to move. Aim for doorways that are at least 31 inches, though 35 inches is ideal. Tight corners and doorways are a challenge for those with walkers or canes. For stress-free opening and closing, change out door handles from traditional knobs to lever handles for an easier grip.
Then, focus on the flooring. Installing carpeting can provide warmth and cushioning for you to enjoy now, and offers an added element of safety when it might be harder to maneuver around in the future. Choose a low pile carpet to minimize tripping – too much shag is a safety hazard. Area rugs are a major no-no, as unsecured rugs and loose carpet are one of the main causes for slips and falls. If you can’t bear the thought of losing your area rug, use carpet tape to secure it firmly to the floor.
Boost the Bath
If you can only update one place in your home, make it the bathroom. The bathroom typically offers the most opportunities for injury. In fact, one in three seniors will experience a fall in their home each year, as stated by the Public Health Agency of Canada. An easy way to incorporate safety is to install grab bars. Today’s grab bars are stylish, fitting in seamlessly with your space, rather than seeming obtrusive and sterile. Install them near the toilet, (make sure you have a comfort-height commode for easy sitting and standing) as well as in the shower. Some models, like the corner shelf with grab bar from Moen, pull double duty, adding an element of additional storage where you can store your shampoo, while also helping keep you safe while entering and exiting the bath.
A handheld showerhead, like the Magnetix from Moen Canada, is an ideal option for those who may want to be seated while they bathe. Magnetix hand showers are also handy for cleaning, by eliminating bending and squatting. Finally, at the vanity, choose a faucet with lever handles – they’re easiest to grip and turn – and install sconces near the mirror for additional lighting.
The most important advice for any room in your home is to think efficiently. Locate items that work together near each other to make tasks easier.