Thinking Ahead: Fitting Out Your Home For The Golden Years
There isn’t an easy way to prepare for old age, and there’s a lot that goes into thinking about and planning out the latter stages of your life. This planning ranges from writing wills and appointing executors to figuring out late-stage living accommodations and ensuring that those accommodations are suitable for the myriad of challenges one faces as a senior citizen.
If you’re planning for a family member, or are yourself in the position as a senior citizen where you are having to seriously consider your own living accommodations, then parts of this article will be extremely helpful to you.
Nobody likes the feeling of disempowerment that comes with potentially losing one’s own living space, but it is a matter that we all must deal with as we age. This means potentially moving into an assisted living facility, or moving in with family. Either way, the loss of your own space and the factors that go into finding a new one can be stressful. Thinking about alternative accommodations, either on your own or as a family member having to make considerations for the better health of a loved one, is a part of the aging process.
Accommodations for disability
If your loved one has a disability, this may mean some modifications need to be made to their existing living space. This is particularly true in spaces like cookie-cutter apartment complexes, where everything is built in the same way and certain standards are applied for each unit. The bathrooms are the same, even if they’re opposite-facing, for example. This could mean the installation of things like grab bars in the showers to aid the elderly with standing in and getting out of the bath. Another alternative is a floor-to-ceiling tension pole. All in all, you’ll need to be thinking about such things before you or a loved one moves into an assisted-living-style apartment complex, as not all of them have these accommodations as standard.
It may seem strange, but one of the things to definitely consider if making accommodations or renovations to any space for senior citizens is the presence of sharp edges. These edges present serious injury hazards to those with balance issues. If you want to make sure that your space is as safe as possible for a senior loved one, consider renovating your kitchen and bathroom spaces in particular with rounded corners at the edges of countertops.
This also applies to furniture. In our old age, comfort is key and furniture designed to alleviate some of the physical challenges we face is a big help. The team at Recliner Life suggest swapping couches with sharp edges for soft recliners, which can “Allow for better mobility and comfort at the touch of a button”. They go on to state that recliners allow the elderly or those with mobility issues to more easily go from standing to sitting, which helps to reduce stiffness and improve blood circulation and mobility.
One definite bathroom modification to make if your loved one is wheelchair-bound is a roll-in shower. This shower type is flat, level with the flooring so that your loved one can simply roll their wheelchair into the shower. Vinyl flooring in the shower is definitely the best option, due to the texture and non-slip nature of the material. A transfer pole or other transfer system may be necessary if your shower has a seat in it to accommodate a wheelchair-bound loved one.
One of the best ways to accommodate seniors who may have failing eyesight or upper-body motor-function issues is to install motion-sensor lights. These prevent the person from having to reach up to turn the light on if they’re wheelchair-bound, or having to reach around and feel for the light switch in the dark if they’re not. Motion-sensor based lighting is not necessarily expensive to install and is very much a fire-and-forget system. Perfect for your loved one, who won’t need to worry about whether or not they turned the light off or whether or not they can reach the light switch.
NDIS approved modifications
Some of your home’s modifications that are going to be made may even be covered under the Australian Government’s National Disability Insurance Scheme. Check out the website to see if you qualify for any money toward these modifications to help you and your loved ones plan better for their old age.
There are lots of considerations to make when growing old, things that didn’t use to bother you, now do. Health issues arise that nobody was prepared for. You cannot stop aging, but you can prepare yourself as best you can for that process and utilise all sorts of tools to help you age gracefully and with as much dignity and strength as possible.