WHAT IS AGING IN PLACE?

Aging in place is choosing to remain living at home rather than moving into a senior living community. Over 75% of adults over the age of 50 wish to stay at home for as long as possible according to a survey conducted by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).

Aging in place at home often provides a level of independence that cannot be afforded to aging adults in a living community. It also means being surrounded by things that are familiar, including their home, loved ones, and prized possessions. The cost of living at home is often less expensive than making monthly payments to care facilities.

The decision to age in place at home is one that should not be taken lightly. There are various factors to consider when deciding if you or a loved one should age in place. Ultimately, the decision should be made if there is adequate support, resources, and ability to live independently at home.

Able Life is committed to helping families make these difficult decisions. Using our Aging in Place Guide and other resources, you can ensure that you or your loved ages with grace within the walls of their own home.

IS AGING IN PLACE RIGHT FOR ME?

Aging in place might be the best option for you or your loved one. But how do you know for sure? To make the best decision possible, consider these three things:

Aging in place is most successful when a senior has reasonable level of physical and cognitive independence, the proper preparations have been made to make the home safe, and a support network is close by.

If it is decided that aging in place at home is the best option for you, it becomes necessary to take proper precautions to prepare the home against falls. A Home Safety Evaluation should be conducted to assess the state of the home and identify potential safety hazards. Once conducted, contingency plans can be made and assistive devices identified and installed to make the home more accessible and safe.

As part of the Home Safety Evaluation, plans should be made for family members, friends, neighbors, or paid services to provide the proper support for a loved one to successfully live independently.

THE TRUTH ABOUT FALLS

Every year, one out of four people age 65 and older experience a fall. Falls can result in serious injuries, including broken hips and brain trauma. Falling just one time will double your chances of falling again, making it paramount to take precautions to prevent falls before they happen.

ASSESSING RISK THROUGHOUT THE HOME

When preparing to age in place, a thorough analysis of every room in the home should be conducted to identify potential safety hazards. Click on any room of the home below to learn what hazards you should look for and how to overcome them.

OVERALL PROTECTION
    • Are telephones available throughout the house?
      • Are emergency contacts and important phone numbers posted and easy to read?
      • Are speed dials to caregivers, doctors, and emergency personnel set on telephones?
    • Do thresholds in doorways have proper coverings?
      • Do thresholds covers need to be installed?

OUR RECOMMENDATION FOR THRESHOLDS:

EZ Access Thresholds

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    • Are sharp or dangerous objects stored appropriately?
    • Are guns and knives stowed away appropriately?
    • Are cleaning supplies properly stored and labeled?
    • Are there sharp edges on furniture counters?
    • Is there a plan in place in case of an emergency, such as a fire, earthquake,or other natural disaster?
    • Do all fire and CO alarms work properly?
    • Are there fire extinguishers that are accessible?
    • Is there a fire escape plan for each room of the house?
    • Are there flashlights easily accessible in each room?
    • Is there a first aid kit easily accessible?
    • Is there adequate lighting throughout the house?
      • Do additional lights or lamps need to be added?
      • Do nightlights need to be added in walkways or stairways?
    • Is there appropriate heating and cooling in the home?
      • Is the thermostat readable and easily accessible?
      • Is the water temperature at an appropriate level for sensitive skin?
    • Is the person in need of walking assistance?
      • Do they need a walking aid with a seat?
      • Will they be using the walking aid outside of the home?
      • Will they benefit from an indoor specific walker rollator?

Proper stairway lighting

OUR RECOMMENDATION FOR WALKING ASSISTANCE:

Able Life Walkers and Rollators

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HOME ENTRY
    • Can the person enter the home on their own?
      • Do they need a wheelchair to enter?
      • If so, is the home wheelchair accessible?
      • Do they need a walker or rollator to enter?
      • Do they require to be carried into the home?
    • Are there handrails when entering the home?
      • Do handrails need to be installed for assistance when entering or leaving the home?
    • Is the pathway or entryway into the home free of cullter?
    • Are they at risk of tripping on anything and falling?
    • Is the pathway in good repair? (see image)
    • Is there grease, oil, or ice on the ground that could cause slipping?
    • Are there rugs or mats in the entryway?
    • Are they wrinkled or have curled edges that could be tripping hazards?
    • Do they need slip-resistant backing?
    • See bathroom section for more information on rugs and mats

Lifted concrete can be a tripping hazard

BATHROOMS
    • Is the bathroom free of clutter?
      • Are there unnecessary items on the ground to trip over?
      • Are there unnecessary items on the counter that could fall or get knocked over?
      • Are there unnecessary items in the cabinets?
    • Are there loose rugs or mats on the floor?
      • Are they wrinkled or have curled edges to trip over?
      • Do they need slip-resistant backing?
      • Do they present a risk of slipping and falling?
    • Is there a walk-in shower available?
      • Can they step over the shower or bathtub lip?
      • Do handrails need to be installed in the shower or bathtub?
    • Can they get on and off the toilet easily?
      • Do handrails need to be installed next to the toilet?
      • Is the toilet seat too low?

OUR RECOMMENDATION FOR BATHROOM GRAB BARS:

Able Life Universal Floor to Ceiling Grab Bar

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    • Is there a risk of falling while in the shower or bathtub?
      • Do they need a shower chair or bench to sit down while bathing?
      • Do handrails need to be installed in the shower or bathtub?
      • Do you need a bathmat to help prevent slipping?
      • Would they benefit from using a removable shower head?
    • Are necessary items in easily accessible locations?
      • Is the soap or shampoo easy to reach?
      • Do you need to install shampoo/soap dispensers in the shower or bathtub?
      • Are toiletries available without bending over or reaching to high places?
    • Are cabinets and drawers easy to open and close?
    • Are walking aids or wheelchairs going to be used in the bathroom?
      • Can the walking device easily get through the doorway?
      • Is there ample space to turn around with the mobility aid?
      • Is there anything on the floor impeding the mobility device? 

OUR RECOMMENDATION FOR BATH MATS:

NOVA RUBBER BATHMATS

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KITCHENS
    • Can the person reach necessary items without climbing?
    • Are the countertops at an appropriate level?
    • Is the microwave at an accessible level?
    • Can items be stored safely in lower cabinets?
    • Is the kitchen floor and counterops clear of clutter?
      • Is there anything in danger of falling or getting knocked off the countertops?
    • Are there any tripping hazards on the floor?
      • Are there unnecessary items on or in the counters and cabinets?
    • Are there loose rugs on the floor?
      • Are they wrinkled or have curled edges?
      • Do they need slip-resistant backing?
    • Are walking aids or wheelchairs going to be used in the kitchen?
      • Can the mobility aid navigate around the counters?
      • Is there ample space to turn around with the mobility aid?
      • Is there anything on the floor that might impede movement of the aid?

Dirty vs. clean/accessible kitchen

LIVING ROOMS
    • Are the couches and chairs at an appropriate height?
      • Are furniture risers needed?
      • Is there a lift chair available?
    • Can the person easily sit or stand from couches or chairs?
      • Are the arm rests worn or cushioned?
      • Are standing aids needed on chairs?
    • Will ample time be spent in a chair?
      • Will they require a TV dinner tray to eat meals?

Avoid using cushioned armrests to stand

OUR RECOMMENDATION FOR STANDING AIDS AND TRAYS:

Able Life Universal Stand Assist and the Able Tray

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    • Are walking aids or wheelchairs going to be used in the living room?
      • Is the furniture arranged to allow ease of movement?
      • Are there any cords or wires across the floor that could be a tripping hazard?
      • Is there ample space to turn around with the mobility aid?
    • Are there loose rugs or mats on the floor?
      • Are they wrinkled or have curled edges?
      • Do they need slip-resistant backing?
BEDROOMS
    • Is the bedroom located near a bathroom?
      • If not, is there an alternative bedroom in the house closer to a bathroom?
      • Are there any obstacles that need to be removed to get to the nearest bathroom?
    • Is the bedroom located on a separate floor than the main living spaces?
      • If so, is there an alternate bedroom or room that could be used as a bedroom on the main floor?
    • Do you need a stair lift or stair lift alternative to get up and down the stairs?
    • Are walking aids or wheelchairs going to be used in the bedroom?
      • Can the person easily transfer from the bed to the mobility aid?
      • Is there clutter that might impede the use of the aid?
    • Are there any loose cords or wires running across the floor that could cause someone to trip and fall?
    • Can your loved one get in and out of bed by themselves?
      • Is the bed at an appropriate height?
      • Do they need a bed handle for assistance in and out of bed?
      • Do they need bed stairs to get into bed?
    • Is the person at risk of falling out of bed during the night?
      • Do they have night tremors or sleepwalk?
      • Do they have to reach out of bed to a nightstand?
      • Do they need a full guard rail to keep them in bed?

Mattresses that are too low to the ground can make it too difficult to get in and out of bed

OUR RECOMMENDATIONS FOR BED RAILS AND HANDLES:

Able Life Bedside Extend-A-Rail

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