Last year The New York City Department for the Aging published a handy aging in place guide for residential building owners. The department published the document because – like much of the rest of the country – the city’s population is aging rapidly, and many of its older residents report having ambulatory difficulty. To make matters worse, many of New York’s existing buildings lack even basic accessibility improvements like elevators. And the problem will only get worse as time passes. In fact, by 2040 New York expects its over 60 population to rise to 2 million people. Officials hope that by incorporating these changes now, the city will be more welcoming and accessible to older people in the future. And in the process, its neighborhood communities will become more diverse and vibrant.
Suggestions for Every Home
While some of the guide’s suggestions cover topics that are more applicable to city living – like pest management and common area setup – it also contains many useful suggestions that would fit any style home. In the section “Throughout the House”, the department outlines simple changes that make any space more friendly to the elderly. They include:
- Flooring and Walking Surfaces – Install soft materials like cork or rubber that are easier on joints and lessen the impact of falls.
- Level Changes – You can use color, light, or texture to signal level changes. This is helpful as eyesight begins to fade and will also reduce tripping hazards.
- Handrails and Grab Bars – To prevent falls, install sturdy handrails and grab bars along every pathway and inside bathrooms.
- Lighting – Building lighting should be consistent throughout to increase accessibility. You should also consider using indirect light only to reduce glare.
- Doors and Entrances – Doors should be easy to open and wide enough to accommodate mobility devices. And whenever possible, thresholds should be removed or lowered.
- Hardware – Choose lever-style hardware over knobs for all doors.
There are dozens of additional suggestions for your kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom so we encourage you to read the entire document here.
In-Home Care Also Helps
Of course, there’s more that goes into living independently than just your home’s design. In many instances, an in-home caregiver can provide the extra level of help an older person needs to stay in their home. And studies show that when a senior ages in place, they save money over assisted living and enjoy a much high quality of life. Caregivers can help with just about any non-medical task including bathing assistance, meal preparation, light housekeeping, and companionship. And the cost for these services is likely much less than you expect.
If you live in the Phoenix area, Generations Home Care can help you stay in your own home longer. Call us today at 602-595-HOME (4663) or fill out our contact form here. Then one of our home care representatives will conduct a free needs analysis that will outline your individual care plan. Contact us today and we’ll get started right away! By combining smart accessibility upgrades with competent in-home care, you’ll be able to stay in your home for years to come.