The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines aging in place as “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level”. You may think that planning for aging in place starts when you reach retirement age but waiting until that point can have big consequences.
In data released from the CDC in 2017, falls are ranked as the leading cause of death among older adults. While some falls are unpreventable, fall risks can be significantly reduced with attention to prevention. Fall prevention includes important things like regular medical care or physical and occupational therapy to enhance physical function. However, prevention also includes preparing your home (the environment) to ‘age in place’. This step in prevention is often overlooked in the process of aging.
In order to increase the likelihood of aging with your home, there is a wide range of modifications and suggestions that may be considered. When disaster strikes, you may find yourself in a situation where a therapist is asking you to install grab bars, toilet risers and bath benches. When the needs go beyond simple recommendations like these, time and money are often a factor in safely returning home. Why do we wait that long? The answer I hear most often is “I never thought this would happen to me”.
Solutions 4 Home was founded to bridge a gap in our modern healthcare world. While healthcare involves preventative medicine, we are missing preventative environmental planning. Handicap accessibility and universal design, terms you hear so often in the building world, do not always mean accessibility and fall prevention. I am often reminded of this when I use public restrooms that are designed to be handicap accessible and are far from accessible. I have also been in beautiful new living facilities with bathroom designs that inhibit an individual with a disability. Solutions 4 Home consultations are aimed at helping you properly plan your remodel, build or home purchase. Have you considered the coefficient of friction on the flooring you select? What? Not all flooring that looks gorgeous is actually functional in your home and increases your fall risk over time. Have you prepared your walls or set up your bathroom in a manner that will accept grab bars or supportive aides? Have you planned placement of your switches and lighting to allow you to safely move through your home at night?
While this is only a short list of things to consider, it shows the importance of a team approach in aging in place. There are a number of resources out there to support you in aging and Solutions 4 Home is one of those resources! Living at home is important to each and everyone one of us. Aging in place is more than a grab bar. It is a key concept in managing costs of aging before disaster strikes! Aging in place consultations benefit ANYONE on the aging spectrum. Pay it forward to a healthy future and recommend a consultation to your loved ones today!