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Increasing Accessibility for Aging in Place

When it comes to growing older, or living with a progressive condition, many people want to stay in their own homes for as long as possible. That's where the idea of "aging in place" comes in. But to make this dream a reality, homes need to be designed with accessibility in mind. Thinking about it earlier can save money and headaches later.  Let’s dive into why accessibility is key when designing a home for aging in place. 


First off, what does accessibility mean? It's all about making sure that everyone, regardless of age or ability, can easily move around and use the space. This includes things like making doorways wide enough for wheelchairs and installing ramps instead of stairs. It's also a way to make it easier for families with strollers, or people with shopping carts to navigate the spaces in which they live. The key here is that accessibility IS NOT just for the old or disabled, though we often think it is.


One important aspect of accessibility is making sure that doorways and hallways are wide enough for mobility aids like walkers or wheelchairs. Imagine trying to squeeze through a narrow doorway with a walker – not fun! Wide doorways and hallways make it easier for everyone to get around safely.


Another thing to consider is the type of door handles used in the home. Traditional doorknobs can be tricky to grip, especially for people with limited dexterity. That's where lever-style door handles come in handy. They're much easier to use and can make a big difference for someone who may have trouble gripping small objects. They are also a low-cost item, with a HIGH impact in regards to function.


But it's not just about making physical changes to the home. It's also important to think about things like lighting and flooring. Good lighting is essential for preventing falls, especially for older adults with vision problems. Did you know there are different colored light bulbs, or ones with different brightness? Choosing the right light bulb for the right task is essential when we consider accessibility. 


Choosing flooring that's slip-resistant can help reduce the risk of accidents. There are so many different options now, including luxury vinyl planks, cork-based flooring, and even different levels of anti-slip when considering tiles.


When it comes to the bathroom, there are even more considerations to think about. Installing grab bars near the toilet and in the shower can provide extra support and stability. And curbless showers make it easy to step in and out safely, without having to worry about tripping over a ledge. 


Even thinking about where to store items can have a big impact on how easy it is for us live and age within our homes.  Vertical storage helps keeps floors clean, and drawers can make things like cleaning supplies easier to access and locate.


Accessibility isn't just about making changes to the home itself – it's also about creating a supportive environment for aging in place. This might mean connecting with community resources or hiring home health aides to provide assistance with daily tasks. Utilizing community resources like organizers, lawn services, to daily personal care aides can keep you happy and healthy within the home.


Designing a home for aging in place is all about making sure that it's safe and accessible for everyone, whether it’s for those living there, or those just visiting. From widening doorways to installing grab bars, there are many changes that can be made to help older adults stay independent and comfortable in their own homes. By prioritizing accessibility, we can help make aging in place a reality for more people.



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