According to the 2010 census, there were 53,364 seniors aged 100 or older. Out of those centenarians, only 35% live in a nursing home. This is a decrease from 48% in 1990. As more seniors choose to live with family or independently, the need for products to cater to the aging seniors has also increased. There have been many new innovations in terms of at-home senior living and mobility. For those seeking a way to make their loved ones more comfortable and independent, you are not without options.
Assisting in Mobility and Home Access
As we age, we don’t move the way we used to. Even everyday tasks get harder as our mobility is more limited. In our homes there are plenty of options for getting around that can renew our quality of life. This is especially true in a home with multiple levels. Stairs, steps, and steep inclines can prove to be obstacles that detour us from living a full life of ease. Installing outdoor ramps can eliminate stairs leading to the entryway. In the home, stairlifts, wheelchair lifts, elevators, and ramps can take the largest obstacles and make them manageable.
If you are worried about carrying laundry or other large objects up and downstairs, a dumbwaiter is another method of easing the everyday tasks. This is highly recommended for aging adults who may have issues navigating stairs to avoid falls.
Bathroom Mobility and Reducing the Risk of Injury
A majority of all falls happen in the bathroom. As we age, it is harder to navigate this part of the house. With so many dangers, a few design changes can keep functionality and independence while reducing the risk of injury. A few suggestions may include:
- Installing grab bars near the sink, toilet, and bathtub.
- Changing the conventional sink with a wall-mounted sink that allows for a seat while washing.
- Installing a standing shower or walk-in bathtub to eliminate the need to step into the tub.
- Switching the conventional toilet with a chair-height toilet to allow easier sitting and standing.
Many of these products have been adapted to seamlessly work with any décor. This allows for the functionality without creating a hospital feel. As our environment directly affects our emotional state, it is important to keep emotional comfort while offering functional comfort and safety. By contacting manufacturers, you can find a design that will work with the home.
Easy Entry and Efficiency
As our joints age, we may find it harder to use everyday items or even entryways. Even turning a doorknob may prove to be a daunting task. Many home innovations you can add are taking a page out of commercial use. Lever-style door handles that only require pushing the lever down can easily replace the turning of a knob and is much easier for those with arthritic hands. Just like many restaurants or malls, installing motion-sensitive light switches eliminates the need to flip a switch as well as the risk of tripping in the dark.
Even appliances have been designed to eliminate the need for elderly citizens to bend down and risk injury. Refrigerators and dishwashers are available with drawers set at the waist to shoulder height so no bending is required. Though this is a costly option initially, the peace of mind that comes with less injury makes it well worth the price.
Just because we age, doesn’t mean we have to stop living. As we grow older, our homes should adapt to our new needs. Take an inventory of the home and see where innovations in mobility can benefit your aging loved one. With just a few changes, your elderly family member can maintain their independence and live a comfortable life.