Once they were babies. Now the boomers are all grown up— and growing old. According to the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, in less than 20 years, one in three households will be headed by someone aged 65 or older.
As boomers approach their golden years, many are looking to stay in their homes as they age. The good news is that it doesn’t take sweeping changes to make homes livable for seniors. Often relatively simple adjustments will do the trick.
As we consider the right housing situation for ourselves or our parents, here are some simple ideas to make a home more senior-friendly, suggested by in-home care company Comfort Keepers and others:
• Install grab bars in the bathroom.
• Install pullout shelves to minimize the need for bending.
• Use moveable islands in the kitchen, so that they can be pushed out of the way should a person suddenly need a walker or wheelchair.
• Install taller toilets to ease the sitting-to-standing motion.
• Install shelves in the shower so shampoo, soap and other items can be reached more easily than if they were on the floor.
• Replace door knobs with lever handles.
• Repair or replace loose handrails.
• Make sure there is adequate lighting in stairways.
• Install an elevated dishwasher or one with drawers for easy access.
• Replace old stoves with induction cook tops to help prevent burns.
• Replace ceramic tile floors with hardwood or vinyl for safer standing.
• Apply non-slip tape on uncarpeted indoor and outdoor steps.