In the last post I introduced you to Elsie and John, a mature, senior couple who live in their fifty year old home. Both are relatively healthy and live on their fixed retirement that hasn’t increased since John’s retirement thirty years ago. They, like many senior couples, face rising costs of medication and cost of living but do not have an increase in income. Money is tight and their home is beginning to show its age and things are breaking down.
Because of this, Elsie and John are considering making a move to a different home that will be easier to take care of and safer for them. They continue to compile a list of some things that would be beneficial in their new home. Following are some of the items they placed on their list for optimum safety and comfort at the interior entry:
§ The entryway should be at least four foot wide preferably more.
§ The entryway should lead to the main areas like the kitchen, living room, bathroom and bedroom areas.
- There needs to be access to light switch without having to walk through the dark. Shadowed or dark areas can be a tripping hazard.
- They will need to make sure the bulbs used are the right type and wattage for the light fixtures.
- It is a good idea for the fixtures to have two light bulbs so that if one burns out, there is still lighting.
- They should prevent glare from the lights by choosing frosted bulbs or using upward casting lighting.
§ They will need an electrical outlet in the entryway or main hallway.
§ They will need a slip resistant floor surface either through a walk-off type of carpet or by choosing a type of flooring that will not become slick if there is wetness on it.
- If they opt for a walk-off style of carpet, they will need to periodically make sure the backing has not worn away.
- They will need to make sure the flooring doesn’t become a trip hazard too. It should not have a lip that is greater than ¼” in height either at the threshold or at the edges of the carpeting.
- Another thing they will need to consider is the doorbell. Will they be able to hear it or should they consider getting one that has a flashing light that will alert them to a visitor?
- The door itself is an important consideration because they will need to be able to open it, see who is on the other side and also be able to lock it.
- Can they turn the handle to open the door? A lever style handle is the best choice for them and will work even if they have both hands full.
- Is there a deadbolt on the door and can they both work it?
- Is there a peep hole that they can both see out of?
- Can the door be opened easily? If the door is too heavy to open, can it be adjusted?
This list is not all-inclusive but it is a good start. I hope you will continue to follow us as Elsie and John determine the best options for their mature living home. The AARP site has a link to locate a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) who can help you with your own mature living at home recommendations. Each family has unique needs and situations that should be evaluated. Not all recommendations and Aging In Place modifications require extensive remodeling or moving. Please remember that Aging In Place is really about making your home safe and comfortable for you and everyone in your home.
Written by Alesha E. Churba, a Certified Aging in Place Specialist with experience in Residential and Commercial Interior Design in Southeast Idaho. Her business niche is primarily designing and decorating with her clients futures in mind- i.e. aging in place, color story investment, and designing for the long term safety and comfort of her clients. Alesha resides in Pocatello, Idaho. (208)-313-6414. Alesha@aechurba-design.com http://aechurba-design.com.