Home modifications are changes to a home’s living environment that help keep a senior citizen independent while promoting ease of use and safety in routine activities. There are several common home improvements or modifications that can assist a senior citizen in maintaining an independent lifestyle. Some of the most popular modifications include:
- Moving the bedroom, or any other primary living area, from an upper level to the first floor.
- Installing grab bars in bathrooms, particularly near bathtubs and showers;
- Installing a flexible hand-held shower or convert a bathtub to a safer type of bathing facility for your loved one, such as a walk-in shower;
- Installing handrails on both sides of a staircase;
- Increasing lighting throughout the home;
- Arranging furniture to allow easier movement if a walker, cane or wheelchair is used.
- Replacing plush carpeting with a more commercial, flat style to accommodate mobility aids and help keep sure footing;
- Installing knobs and levers that are larger and easy to use.
- Moving dishes and glasses to easy to reach shelves in a kitchen; and
- Removing scatter rugs and ensuring area rugs are secured, particularly corners and edges.
An investment in home modification may eliminate or delay the need for assisted or institutional care. The AARP estimates that over 85% of senior citizens prefer to age in their own home rather than move to a facility, and that says quite a bit regarding the preferences of senior citizens. Besides the interim steps taken with home and safety modifications, home health services such as visiting home care aides, are available that can also help senior citizens maintain their independence.
Planning for our later years, as well as planning for the possibility of long term care and incapacitation, is an important aspect of estate planning. Working with an estate planning attorney can help you plan for the various possibilities that can occur later in life.