Most homes today are designed for young adults and don’t have the features and conveniences to make them appropriate and safe for seniors. Our homes are one of the most important factors in determining how long we can maintain comfortable independence. A well adapted home will make many day-to-day living tasks both easier and safer-often preventing the most common kinds of accidents.
The first thing to keep in mind is that preparing our homes is a long term project that we should start as early as possible – preferably well before middle age. Why so early? Over the years, we are constantly doing repairs, renovations and improvements to our homes. If each time we make a change, we look at it as an opportunity to help ensure our independence later in life, we can implement appropriate adaptations.
In most cases, changes made while we’re having other work done will require minimal, if any, additional costs. The reason for this is that most adaptations are simply a matter of good design. It costs no more to build a wide hallway than it does a narrow one.
The other great advantage to making these changes as you go along, is that you design the solution right into the project. For example, if you get appropriate door handles, you won’t need some add-on gadget later on to help you turn doorknobs.
Finally, by taking responsibility for making these changes over time, you keep control of the process. You make the decisions. All too often, when we procrastinate, nothing gets done until there is a crisis or immediate need. Then family, discharge planners, or someone else is probably going to be making the decisions for us.
Ultimately the price of putting off adaptations is an increased chance of an accident, wasted money and lost independence. So take control of your future and begin to make adaptations now.