It is likely that you have heard the phrase “Aging In Place.” It means remaining in your home, or the environment of your choice, instead of moving into an Assisted Living or Nursing Home setting.
The concept of Aging In Place is gaining traction as the population in the United States continues to age at a rapid rate. The Baby Boomers have had an impact on society all throughout their lives. They have stressed school systems as they reached school age and flooded the workforce as they reached that stage of their lives. Now we have a new stage and the gray tsunami of Baby Boomers is not disappointing – they are demanding that we look at how we age.
Listed Here are the top 7 aging in place products for an independent lifestyle to help you prepare to age in place.
Some recommendations in this article are for a singe product to address one challenging aspect of aging in place while other recommendations are for a grouping of products that together will enhance one aspect relating to your ability (or that of a loved one) to age in place. All of these recommendations are intended to make it possible to age in the living situation of your choice throughout your lifetime.
The age of Americans 65 and older is expected to reach nearly 95 Million by 2060. That nearly doubles the number of Americans who are 65 or older in the US currently. Most of these aging people are interested in Aging In Place. Fortunately, there are many products and services today to help make that goal a reality.
According to Wikipedia Universal design is the design of buildings, products or environments to make them accessible to all people, regardless of age, disability or other factors.
Whenever we modify our home or purchase a new product or service we would be smart to think about Universal Design and creating a home and life that is aging friendly.
# 1 – Getting In The House
Easy accessibility is essential to being able to age in place in your home.
If you have steps to get in the house, ramps will make entry easier and safer. Mobility, agility and balance are all aspects of aging that occur in many people. Steps, even those with good railing systems can be a challenge. And for anyone requiring a walker or wheelchair, ramps are essential.
To be safe and make your life easier ramps should have a gradual incline and be slip resistant. Ramps today are more aesthetically pleasing than the ramps that may come to mind. So no worries, safe and easy entry ramps can be added without losing your homes curb appeal.
Once you reach the front door a lever handle will be easier for you to open than a knob. Replace the front door knob with a lever that has push button entry. Many aging people experience difficulty with turning motion of twisting a knob or even with grip strength needed to hold and turn a knob. Pushing up or down on a lever is much easier and requires less strength. Any door knob or drawer knob and easily be replaced with a lever or pull.
With the push button coded entry system you won’t have worry about fumbling with and trying insert and turn a key. You can set up codes separate from you entry code for caregivers. Then if needed you can easily change that code without changing your personal code. This eliminates handing out keys that have to be retrieved if in home help changes.
#2 – Walk in Shower or Bathtub
More than one third of all accidents in the home happen in the bathroom. It is a room that can be hard to move around in and it can get steamy and slippery. Walk in showers and tubs make bathing a much safer experience.
If you are renovating your bathroom it would be ideal to replace existing showers that have a step over side with a zero entry (no step) or low threshold shower opening. To make the shower as safe as possible hand held shower heads are a good choice as well as the addition of a bench in case of fatigue.
If you are the type of person that prefers to soak in a warm bath then you should look at walk in bathtubs that have a door that seals shut to hold in the water after you have safely walked in. These tubs also have bench seating to make it easier to sit and stand for added safety.
#3 – Grab Bars and Railings
There are certain areas of homes that generally have railings such as stairways or steps. Additional railings in hallways can help you keep your balance as you go from room to room. This can be especially helpful in longer hallways where you may get tired or winded going from one end to the other.
Grab rails placed strategically throughout the house will be very useful in keeping you safe and on your feet. Consider adding a grab rail where you get dressed, next to the toilets, by doorways that have thresholds, near the refrigerator and by the front door where you put your shoes and jacket on.
Any place where you may lose your balance trying to do something or get tired trying to complete a task is a good place to consider the addition of grab bars or a railing.
#4 Home Automation Systems
A home automation system is a combination of hardware and software that enables the control and management of many systems within a home including heat, lights, appliances, and door locks. There is huge potential with some of these systems and the ability to remain connected is one aspect.
These systems can help you stay in touch with family and friends. You don’t even have to get up to make a phone call, just ask Alexa or Google to do it for you. You can easily contact your loved ones whether they are in the next room or across the country. You can also make calls to your doctors office or for emergency help if needed.
You can use this type of system to find out the weather or to ask where you can get take out. If you want to hear music the home automation system can play whatever type of music you prefer to listen to and all you have to do is ask by saying “play Classic Rock,” for example.
This system is helpful for people with limited mobility who don’t move through the house easily and it is helpful for people with dexterity or vision issues who may have difficulty with dialing a telephone or operating a radio.
The safety aspects alone can be well worth cost of any system you might choose.
#5 – Recliner with Electric Lift
Our home is where we can let our hair down and relax. Maybe you like to relax by watching your favorite show or a good movie or getting lost in a great book. Whatever way you relax I’m sure you have a favorite comfy chair in your home where you kick back and settle in.
When strength and balance become more of a challenge, getting out of the comfy chair can be more difficult and maybe even dangerous. That is why an electric lift recliner is a helpful product for Aging In Place. Learn about Elder-Edge’s top choice for an electric lift chair to help anyone stand with ease.
The recliner chair works by pushing a button on the remote to electronically bring the chair to a sitting position and then it raises up higher to aid you into a standing position. When you get into the chair you can also start in the upright position and lower to sitting so that you aren’t flopping backward into the chair.
Moving from sitting to standing is a common way older people fall. They either lack the strength to stand safely or they move quickly and don’t take into account vertigo or balance issues. Using an electronic lift chair is a simple solution to remove that risk.
#6 – Meal Delivery Service
Nutrition is an important aspect of aging in place. Many people find it more difficult to make meals or cooking isn’t fun now that is just for one or maybe two people.
SilverCuisine by BistroMD is a home meal service that offers great meals for seniors and older adults. They offer many meal options for a variety of health conditions. You can choose from healthy senior friendly breakfast, lunch or dinner. Doctor’s design each meal for your specific dietary needs. The fully cooked meals can be delivered anywhere in the US.
If you prefer to cook your own meals but require a little assistance, there are meal services like Blue Apron that will deliver to your door all the products required to make a specific meal that you choose ahead of time. When your meal box arrives it will include every single thing required to make that meal including spices and garnishes.
These services are easy to use and offer a wide variety of meals to meet your needs and please your palette.
#7 – Medication Dispensers
So many of us start taking more medications as we get older. The dispensing of these medications can get confusing especially if you are taking multiple medications and have different dispensing schedules for different meds.
A pill dispenser can help make the process of managing medications easier. The medications can be placed in the dispenser ahead of time and then an alarm will sound and/or lights will flash when it is time to take meds.
Dispensers can be set according to different schedules depending on if you take medications one, two or more times each day. Multiple pills can be placed in each compartment and only one compartment is dispensed at the appropriate time to eliminate the concern of taking too many or the wrong medications.
There are basic pill dispensers that are just plastic compartments with flip top lids and there are more advanced dispensers that will dispense meds from a locked compartment and there are dispensers that will alert caregivers or loved ones if meds are missed. Read our review of the LiveFine Automatic Pill Dispenser.
Confusion about medications is common and can have serious consequences. Making sure medications are taken as prescribed is a good way to aid in maintaining an independent lifestyle and age in place.
Plan to Age In Place
The products listed here are the products that will help you and your loved ones remain active an independent as you age. Integrate these products into your home as you need them or even before you need them.
We are all aging and even if we wish we could make time stand still, it isn’t going to. People are living longer today than any time in history. That is exciting news! What we need to think about now is how we are going to enjoy those added years. As you purchase new home products or renovate areas of your home, incorporate some of the top 7 aging in place products listed here to ensure you and those you care about can successfully maintain your independent lifestyles.