At the top of the list for people wanting to Age in Place is to prepare for the future – a future that may include difficulty climbing a flight of steps, negotiating home entries with several steps of the same color, or possibly even needing to use a wheel chair.
Seniors fear Nursing Homes more than they fear death (Lori Orlov’s Blog 9/09). Wow. So it’s time for some creative thinking. Moving into a brand new home built around Universal Design features may be feasible for people who are young now, but if you are over 60 and are wanting to stay in the home you have, it’s time to get serious and make decisions in advance, and maybe even do some preparation.
If you MUST keep a stairway up to your front door, try adding accessible handrails on both sides. Most importantly, make sure the stairs are tiled with slip proof tile, with visible color at the edge of the step, and that has a ridged nosing. Alternatively, you may either purchase or have a professional install non-slip coating on your stairs.
There are many excellent, self-installable, Slip Resistant Treatments (indoors and outdoors) for Porcelain, Ceramic tile, Travertine, Granite or Quarry tile. Delta Chemicals is one company that supplies ‘Grip It’ non slip treatment for use on concrete, ceramic and quarry flooring. It is NOT a coating, it is a clear solution mopped onto the surface that takes about 30 minutes to set, then you remove it. What is left is a microscopic tread pattern that gives a gripping effect. The treatment lasts 2-3 years or longer, depending on the amount of traffic.
Another product, Grip ’n Seal is a unique micron zed polymer which, when mixed with a coating type sealer or paint, creates a textured, slip resistant surface without a sharp abrasive finish. Use on driveways, patios, garage floors, walkways, steps and pool areas.
Finding the right product guarantees your stairs and flooring meet ADA and OSHA standards for walking surfaces. You can feel safe about all your residents and visitors walking on wet flooring, steps or ramps.
On the Coastside, we pride ourselves on being self-reliant, but the climate can play havoc with our homes and surroundings, so it is important to take control of our own domains. Decks need to be checked, gutters cleaned. Things like cracks in the sidewalks or an uneven set of entry stairs may prevent us from being completely independent as we start to lose youthful mobility.
Aging brings with it some new challenges for the Boomer generation. Understanding aging-in-place concepts is really important to this independent, adventurous, socially active generation. As we age, things do change, and it’s important to make some decisions in advance, so your wishes can be carried through.
The reading glasses, the increased visits to the dentist, the additional medications, the switch from racquetball to golf — these are all indicators that our bodies are changing with age. To adapt to this aging, one thing we need to consider is the type of care we wish to receive — and the setting in which we get that care — should something happen to us.Most people would choose to stay in their home as long as possible, even if it means having care giving services. But, in order to really make the most of your later years, it helps if you prepare the home for the future.
10 Things about Aging
1. Make an accessible entry into your home. If there’s a stairway, add handrails on both sides, and make certain the stairs are tiled with slip-proof tile, coated with non-slip material. Have a visible color at the edge of the step.
3. Make your bathroom and kitchen maintenance-friendly and easy to clean. Remove or replace old, out-of-date or broken appliances.
4. Modify storage areas, swapping out base cabinets for base drawers. Lower the shelving and the clothes-hanging bars in closets.
5. Raise or lower appliances for easier access. Most have adjustable feet, or can be purchased with an extender.
6. Get an easy-to-clean toilet that’s at a comfortable height. One of the “skirted” types are best.
7. Add sturdy handrails — or reinforce those you already have — in hallways and around the outside of the home.
8. Consider all aspects of safety for the bathroom – tub, toilet and shower access — as well as slippery spots, and areas for potential grab bar placement.
9. Use GPS devices, Skype and other forms of technology to improve your quality of life. Get one of your grandkids to help!
10. Maintain your vitality, health and wellness by getting out regularly, volunteering, socializing with others through a book club or hobby, and keeping your medical and dental appointments