Aging in Place or Senior Housing: Considerations

Aging in Place or Senior Housing: Considerations
  • Opening Intro -

    Your home is your castle, but as you age it may seem more like a prison than a place to reside.

    For millions of Americans, the transition from their home to senior housing seems inevitable.


For others, aging in place has the most appeal, something that can be accomplished through careful evaluation of your personal needs.

Here’s some points to consider when modifying any home to accommodate seniors as they choose to age in place:

1. Outside the home. If the senior homeowner has mobility issues, a ramp leading from the front walk to the entrance door may be in order. Motion detectors located around the home can activate the lighting across all walk areas. It can also thwart home intrusions.

2. At the door. Is access to the home easy for seniors? An old, heavy door handle may need to be replaced with a lever-style handle. Easier to turn locks may also be in order. The doorbell should be in working condition and loud enough to be heard throughout the home. If the senior has hearing problems, supplementing the bell with flashing lights can alert them to a visitor at the door.

3. In the hall. Handrails and additional lighting can make access to the rest of the home easier and safer. Remove an entrance carpet runner and replace it with wall-to-wall carpeting or go with wood floors.

4. Living areas. The living room, family room and other areas of the home where people congregate should be decluttered. Throw rugs should be removed, lighting increased, and furniture rearranged to create open walk areas.

5. Bath areas. Bathrooms can become a hazard for the senior with mobility issues. Grab bars in the tub are a place to begin; adding a seat to the shower can also be beneficial. If the toilet sits too low to the floor, replacing it with a higher rise toilet may be in order. Other fixtures including the placement of towel racks, the toilet tissue dispenser, and shelving should be examined for ease of access.

6. Sleeping areas. Bedrooms should be comfortable and uncluttered. Grab bars located near the bed can provide ease of access. The bed may need to be raised or lowered, the doorknobs swapped out for lever-style handles, and new furniture added as needed.

7. Kitchen confidential. Besides the bedroom and the bathroom, the kitchen may be the most important area of the home. For seniors, everything should be within easy reach including dishes, flatware, pots and pans, and other items used regularly. Swap out handles and drawer pulls to make it easier to grab, replace appliance knobs with grab knobs. The flooring should be smooth and unencumbered: remove throw rugs. Sinks and faucets should be reachable.

8. Climbing stairs. Multi-floor homes can be a huge challenge for seniors. Those able to get up and down the stair without an elevator still need secure handles and adequate lighting. Carpeting should be removed and reflective strips added to help identify stair edges.

Safety Considerations

Besides the interior of the home, any house with an attached garage, a raised deck, or shed should be reviewed for safety. Aging in place may be the only option for some, while senior housing may be the preferred way to go for others. Either way, a review of a loved one’s living conditions can keep them safe and give you both much desired peace of mind.

See Also6 Quick Makeover ideas to Add Spark to Any Room



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About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Auto Trends Magazine", an online publication. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and weblogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".