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King Farm Blog

IKF Blog
Posted: Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Staying in your home? Make sure it’s safe

If you’re considering staying in your home as you grow older, there are a few things you’ll want to take care of. One of the most important is to know how to make your home safe to age-in-place.

Falling is an example of one of the more dangerous occurrences that can happen to older adults. And over half of falls occur inside the home. The reasons can range from falling on the stairs to tripping while walking across a room.

Home safety tips for seniors

The best place to start is by assessing the condition of your home and familiarizing yourself with how to make it safe. Here are a few guidelines and questions you may want to ask:

Examine your home’s safety from the outside

  1. Make sure you have good lighting, especially from your car to the front door or other areas where there may be shadows.

  2. Do you have a zero-step entrance into your home? If not, and if it’s needed in the future, is there room for a ramp?

  3. Are there handrails at the front porch or entry area and stairs?

Will the kitchen need future modifications?

  1. If sink faucets are not lever handles, consider changing as they’re easier to operate and control.

  2. A raised dishwasher can decrease back strain when loading and unloading dishes.

  3. Consider a stove and oven with front controls as they’re easier to reach.

  4. Trade out existing cabinet and drawer handles with larger knobs and pulls.

Carefully consider bathroom safety

  1. Install grab bars in the shower.

  2. Switch out faucet handles for levers.

  3. Consider installing a curbless shower so you’re not stepping over or into the shower

  4. Install raised toilets with non-slam lids

  5. Widen doors to at least 32” if you’ll need to use mobility equipment

Source: Age Safe America

General improvements you may want to make

When considering home safety tips for seniors, these are a few general modifications to help you further assess the house:

  1. Make sure all areas of the home have good lighting, including hallways. Eliminate dim or shadowed areas by installing overhead lights or providing lamps where needed.

  2. Switch out lever handles on all doors and windows for ease in opening and closing.

  3. Lower the height of light switches and thermostats and raise the outlets to make them easier to reach.

  4. Widen all doors if you’ll need the width for mobility equipment or assistance.

Making the decision to move or stay in your home

Although no one can see into the future, it can be helpful to consider the type of living environment you might need if accessibility became a challenge.

You’ll also want to look at the big picture. You may have to weigh different tradeoffs. For example, if your physical home is perfect for healthy aging, but you’re isolated from services or there are no alternative transportation options, your ability to age well will be compromised.

Ask yourself these questions to help clarify your decision:

1. If you needed accessibility or mobility assistance in the future, are there simple modifications you could make or would you need to move?

2. Is your home the best place to support your retirement life? Are there rooms that are rarely used? Heating, cooling and cleaning empty space still requires time and money.

3. Is the outside maintenance and landscaping something you enjoy or is it becoming too much to handle?

4. Is your neighborhood still safe? Is this where you feel supported by others or have things changed? Must you now drive more often to get to services at a time when you’re wanting to drive less?

5. If you no longer drive, are there other transportation options you can rely on so that you are not missing out on activities you enjoy? Are you able to get to a gym? Are there opportunities in the neighborhood to walk safely, such as sidewalks or pathways?

6. Do you food shop and cook well-balanced meals? After years of planning, cooking and cleaning, it can be easier to substitute quicker and less nutritional food. What healthy options can you choose on the days when you can’t or don’t want to cook?

7. Are you safe in your home? Especially if you live alone, do you have an emergency alert system? Do you have a plan in place if you would fall or become ill and need to call for help?

Why independent living may offer the better choice to age-in-place

Even if your home situation works well today, be aware of changes that may occur in the future. Learning how to make your home safe and assessing the bigger picture can go a long way toward aging well.

Pay attention to the following circumstances that may affect your quality of life:

  • If there is a loss of family or friends and you find yourself becoming socially isolated

  • If you’re unable or find it more difficult to shop, cook and eat well

  • If you’re unable to get to activities, your faith community or other social events you enjoy

  • If you develop physical or cognitive changes that make staying at home more difficult or unsafe

Because these are the type of situations that senior living communities address so well, you may want to check into what is available in your area.

Ingleside at King Farm Independent Living

If the day comes when you no longer feel as safe or secure living in your home, we hope you’ll visit our community and see what we offer.

Our residences and common areas are designed with safety and usability in mind. Participating in the many activities we offer can not only help you remain engaged in life but improve your physical and cognitive health as well.

We think you’d enjoy our fitness center, indoor heated pool, spending time in our library or sharing a meal or glass of wine with a friend. There are many social activities that make meeting and making friends easier than ever.

If you think you’d like a maintenance-free life, where healthy but delicious meals are yours when you aren’t in the mood to cook and scheduled transportation is available so you don’t miss out on anything, please give us a call.

Please visit our website or call (240) 414-8557 if you have any questions or would like to schedule a personalized tour today.

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