It’s a familiar refrain…”I don’t want to go to a nursing home. I want to stay in my home until I die.” More than 90% of seniors say they prefer to remain in their own homes. But, a household is a lot to manage. “Hidden dangers” lurk in the home that can derail your plans for aging in place.
One in three seniors fall each year. ERs treat more than a million seniors each year for injuries. When your home is a poor picture of aging in place, it is likely you may fall victim to illness, accidents, an array of problems resulting from medication misuse, poor nutrition, dehydration, infections, and more.
Quiz: is your house a poor picture of aging in place?
Check off the statements that are true for you.
- There is some (or a good deal of) clutter in the home. Some furniture is covered with papers or magazines.
- There are some obstacles I have to watch out for when walking through the home. I have pathways to walk, but some are a bit narrow.
- I have throw rugs in the home (not secured to the floor with tape/non-stick grip).
- There may be some expired items in my pantry and refrigerator. I haven’t thrown anything out in a while.
- There are some items I need in my kitchen which require digging in the back of a closet or using a step stool to reach.
- I’m having some difficulty keeping up with all the housework.
- I try not to wash clothes or change the bed linens very often as it’s a difficult chore for me.
- I’ve had one or two falls in the home (or yard/driveway).
- It’s difficult for me to read paperwork in some (or all) of my rooms. I only have bright lighting in one spot.
- When I get up to go to the bathroom at night, I just feel my way to the bathroom as I can’t see anything.
- I haven’t made any changes to my bathroom. I don’t think I need anything special in the bathroom like grab bars, non-stick coating in the tub/shower, etc.
- I don’t always have everything I need in reach in the bathroom. Sometimes I have to go fetch something from a nearby room or get out of the shower to get an item.
- I’ve slipped in the shower before, or had trouble getting in and out of the tub.
- It sometimes takes me a couple tries to get up from the toilet seat or my chair.
If you checked off three or more of these, your house is a poor picture of aging-in-place. You may be at risk of falling, getting ill or being hospitalized. Ultimately, you may end up in a care facility even if that’s exactly what you don’t want. However, with a few small changes, you can prepare for aging in place happily and healthfully.
Take control, so you can stay in control!
The good news is that a little preparation can turn your home into a haven for aging in place.