Aging in Place, Interior Design, Senior Safety

Accessibility Choices for an Aging in Place Senior With Arthritis

happy seniorHarold and Tilly, you may recall, are working to have their home remodeled so that they may age in place safely and comfortably. Harold, after working many years in the Steel Mills has osteoarthritis and has a particularly difficult time with his hands and back. Unfortunately, this disease has given him limited accessibility and the need to make some changes to accommodate these limits.

Harold and John were discussing the old days on their weekly phone call to each other and what it was like for Harold working in the mills. Harold was a pretty strong man in his day and never thought he would have to deal with pain and joint inflammation like he does now.

“I find that even everyday things like just turning on a faucet or turning the door knob are tricky. Tilly likes the shape of the new lever handled faucet we had installed in the kitchen and bathrooms but I like ‘em because they are easier to turn on and off,” mentioned Harold to John. Remodel Choices

“We have those on the list of requirements too. Do you have lever door knobs yet?” asked John.door lock and lever

“Yes, those are a life saver too. Trying to turn those old, round door knobs were next to impossible,” said Harold.

Harold continued, “Make sure you put on your list of requirements to have those funny D-shaped handles on your cabinets. Those make it much easier for me when I am trying to open the cabinets to put dishes away. Can’t tell you how many dishes I dropped before we got those put in,” said Harold. “We went ahead and had those put on even though we haven’t started on the kitchen remodel yet.  Our CAPS lady has listed several recommendations for different things that would really help me like choosing appliances with front controls. She gave us some catalogs from Kraftmaid that show some nifty things like pop-up shelves, lazy susans, and pull-out racks. Amazing stuff. You might want to look at them too so you know what to look for in your new house. We are even thinking about getting an induction range too. That is supposed to be much safer.”

“What is that?” asked John.

“A new fangled stove that doesn’t burn you if you touch it. You would understand it more than I do, has something to do with magnets, I think,” said Harold.

“Worst thing about all of this, in addition to painful joints, are the balance problems that I seem to have now. The grab bars we put in the bathroom and the higher toilets have really helped out with my stability. I think that low pile carpet we were looking at will be better than the shag we have right now too. Do you still have that ugly orange stuff you had when I was there last time?” asked John, in a mischievous tone.

“Elsie liked it but it wore out. We have a beige color now that shows all the dirt from the grandkids,” said John.

“That CAPS gal said that the finish selection is another thing to consider and we should focus on low maintenance and safety. I’m thinking about the long term maintenance too; I don’t want to be paying someone to refinish or come and seal stuff once we are done with all of this,” whispered Harold.Walk off carpet to prevent slipping on a wet floor.

“Does Tilly ever tell you that you shuffle? She has been telling me I am shuffling but I think I am doing pretty darn good for having a hip replacement. I mentioned putting the throw rug in front of the door and she had a fit; something about my shuffling and maybe tripping. She made me stick some walk-off carpet there instead. Anyway, sounds like you know what you are doing. Keep me posted. Elsie is hollering at me, hold on… She says to tell Tilly she sends her love. I need to get off here before she starts giving me orders. Take care Harold.”

“You too, John, talk to you next week,” said Harold. He hung up the phone.



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