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Senior scene

August 17, 2013

From the Office: To age in place -- or not -- involves many decisions

Over the years, I have come into contact with many people who are very committed to remaining in their own homes. Recently I’ve spoken with folks who have opted to leave their home of many years and have told me that it is the best thing they have ever done. 

So how do you know what is right for you? 

What is aging in place? 

Aging in place is when someone remains in his or her own home, even when age or health issues make it difficult to care for one’s self easily and safely.

But aging in place can lead to:

• happier, more satisfied individuals living in the home of their choice with control, respect and dignity.

• more economical use of existing resources.

If you want to be ready to age in place, you first need to make sure your home is in good repair. Planning for aging in place is an important part of being successful. Building and remodeling are expensive, but can save money down the road. 

Anything that makes your home safer will also decrease your risk for injury helping to maintain your independence and decrease you need for services. If you redesign your laundry facilities so that they are on the same floor with your living space, chances are you will be able to do your own laundry for a longer period of time. Having an accessible home may also speed your discharge from the hospital or rehab facility. 

Changes that can lead to fall prevention should be a first priority. These include:

• Removing throw rugs, especially in the bathroom.

• Installing grab bars and grips in the bathroom.

• Assuring sturdy handrails on both sides of steps.

• Good lighting and switching, especially at stairs, halls and entries.

• Securing or removing carpets on stairs.

• Soft path lighting for nighttime mobility.

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