The Tampa Bay Times had a great article on remodeling your home to avoid entering a long term care facility. “For many elder Americans, growing older often means uncomfortable changes in the ability to do day-to-day tasks and even basic mobility. One aspect of aging that millions of seniors are clear on is that they do not want to move out of familiar surroundings and into a nursing home. One alternative that is becoming increasingly more popular is to adapt the home to make it more user-friendly as we age. There are now even experts in the aging-in-place concept who can assist in these modifications.”
Some examples include putting night lights along the path from your bed to your bathroom or placing foam rubber around posts and footboard. There are a dozen or more modifications that professionals recommend consumers consider, according to their specific needs and budgets:
–Grab bars in the bathroom over the tub and/or in the shower;
–For people in wheelchairs or using a walker, consider a ramp over the stairs. This would apply even for an apartment or condo with a low threshold.
–Reduce the step-up on stairs from the traditional 7 inches to 4 inches.
–Take out the tub and put in a shower — with the proper safeguards. (65,000 serious injuries happen in showers each year.) A roll-in shower for people in wheelchairs can be built, with no lip or step and a drain slightly below floor level.
–Keep the tub and turn it into a walk-in. There are replacement walk-in tubs that can be expensive.
–Standard bathroom doors are 24 inches wide; the doorway can be widened to 30 or 32 inches by using off-set hinges.
–Replace round door knobs with levers. A lever door knob is much more practical and paddle levers for faucets.
–Tables and kitchen counters can be made to accommodate residents in wheelchairs. Exact measurements are made with the customer in his or her wheelchair.
–Kitchen ranges can be installed with controls in the front. Microwaves can be mounted lower for easier access.
–For residents with walkers or wheelchairs, vinyl or wooden floors are clearly better.
–Dead bolt locks can be installed with a remote button, similar to what is used on many new cars, along with the traditional key.