Aging in Place
There are many frustrations that come with aging, a disability, or a recovery period after an illness or surgery. It is aggravating, and sometime scary, when previously routine activities become challenges. Family member or caregivers have difficulty watching aging parents or adult children struggle to maintain their own homes and function within them. Although there are times when a person should move or give up an activity, for many that isn't necessary. Simple home modifications or the use of assistive devices will give individuals the ability to function independently. Making use of Universal Design principles can help all individuals, especially senior adults, age in place successfully.
What is aging in place?
Aging in place is a movement to make possible people to remain in their own homes as long as possible. An AARP study, Fixing to Stay (2000) found 83% of persons over 45 years of age wanted to remain in their home for as long as possible. Two hallmarks of aging in place are choice and independence. Enabling or universal design also plays a role through the design of products, homes, and even neighborhoods can facilitate aging in place.
How to do it?
Plan for it. Remodeling is along involved process, it's much easier to plan ahead – starting in your 40s – than to tackle retrofitting a home later. Some typical home modifications simple: removing rugs and other trip hazards, buying more lamps so paths are well lit, putting a table outside your front door so you need not bend down to get your keys out of a bag. Some are more complex, such as installing a bidet toilet. Others may require a professional remodel, such as installing a lift for the stairs.