There are many low-cost things that can be done to help seniors live independently their homes for longer periods of time.
Some tips, from the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing and AARP:
- Wear nonslip shoes, not slippers, in the house.
- Avoid area rugs or use double-sided tape to hold them in place.
- If you must climb, use a sturdy step stool with a hand rail, not a chair.
- Place everyday items in easy-to-reach places, including cooking items.
- Sit to cook if possible. Keep the microwave low enough to reach.
- Use a raised toilet seat, which can add 2 inches to 5 inches without replacing the toilet.
- Place nonskid safety strips in the tub, and use a tub bench or shower chair.
- Install grab bars in the bathroom or, if that's not possible, a safety rail can be clamped onto the side of the tub.
- Railings on both sides make stairs easier.
- Look for tools such as a button hook/zip pull or a "reacher" that grabs hard-to-reach items.
- Carry a portable or cellphone around the house in case of a fall or other emergency.
- Consider a home assessment from an occupational therapist, who can tailor suggestions to your functional ability.
- When remodeling, AARP suggests consulting a Certified Aging in Place Specialist, a program of the National Association of Home Builders that designates contractors, remodelers and others who are trained in modifying homes for the elderly.