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Aging in Place: A Real Choice
By Helen Hunter, ACSW, CMSW

(Page 2 of 2)

Bathrooms should be equipped with safety features. One of the most important rooms in the house to design correctly in order to allow homeowners to age in place is the bathroom. Grab bars, a bath chair and a raised toilet seat can provide stability for the older person and prevent falls. Falls in the bathroom or on the stairs are the second leading cause of accidents for elders, just behind automobile accidents. It would be prudent to invest in enlarging at least one bathroom in the home. A larger bathroom makes maneuvering easier for people with walkers, crutches and wheelchairs.

For those who have to handle daily climbing of stairs, it is very important to have proper lighting on stairways. Eyesight changes as people age. Most of the older homes donít have adequate lighting on stairways. Therefore, installing lights with adjustable controls, or dimmers, can help prevent glare and ensure proper lighting. Task lighting is also preferred for cooking, reading and shaving, while softer light is appropriate for night trips to the bathroom.

There are some elders who will choose to move to a new home when they retire, many of which will have a number of the above features in place. Many others, however, will not have the ability to make such a move, for a number of reasons.

By planning ahead, and making some home modification changes now, elders can choose to remain in their home, comfortable in their surroundings, aging in place, maintaining their independence and dignity.

 


Helen Hunter, ACSW, LSW is an independent geriatric social worker consultant trainer and spiritual director. Ms. Hunter is also a published author and has had numerous articles published in local and national magazines and journals, focusing on elder care and family care issues. Helen served as the medical social worker and outreach coordinator for the Parkinson Association of Southwest Florida in Naples, Florida, before returning with her family to her hometown in Central New Jersey in 2009 to care for her mother, who has Parkinson Disease. Ms. Hunter is licensed as a social worker in the states of New Jersey, Connecticut, New York and Florida and can be reached via e-mail at: helenmetsfan@hotmail.com.

 

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