Many of us place a high emphasis on living independently in our own houses as we age. Doing so, perhaps, gives us a sense of our home being the center of our being. It assures us safety, security and freedom, but most importantly, our homes should be seen as the one place we seek comfort in. However, certain obstructions and barriers in the household make it difficult, even dangerous, for some to age in place.
If you have older adults living with you, or if you want to remain highly hospitable to your older friends or relatives, one key feature that should remain transparent in your household should be the feature of “visitability”.
A “visitable” home, which is also an elder-friendly home, is a home that is designed in such a way that welcomes anybody, regardless of age or physical ability. A household with an elder-friendly design removes the common barriers that limit a person with difficulties of any sort. Making your home elder-friendly requires little or no cost, and is actually pretty simple to put forth. The minimum requirements for a home to qualify as an elder-friendly one are as follows:
- There is at least one no-step entrance
- There is a bathroom on the ground floor
- Each doorway on the main floor has a minimum of 32-inches of clear space.
However, the above mentioned are just the minimum standards. There are indeed many other ways to make your home much more friendly for the physically-impaired and the elderly, and that includes having doors that are hinged to swing out rather than in, attaching non-slip adhesive stickers on slippery ground, and placing outlets and switches at a reachable height. Additionally, a strategically-placed grab bar in the bathroom can increase usability and convenience, even without sacrificing aesthetic appeal.
Making small changes may not exactly be mandatory, but one should seriously look toward making your household a more accessible one for your elder loved-one, especially those with physical impairments. Making certain small changes doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive. Furthermore, what better way to place your mind at ease, knowing that your household is not only secure and comfortable, but also a safe one too?
By Deanna Bonaparte