Senior living and aging in place

Happy New Year (still!) Another year has gone by, which can only mean that you are a bit older. If you’re over 50 and are still living in the home that you raised your children (like me), you might be hoping to stay in that house for many years more (like me). But have you ever wondered if the home is suitable for you to age in place?

You might have to do a bit of updating or renovating to make your home usable and safe for your senior years.  Now is the time, before it’s too late, to create a home that is low maintenance, uncluttered and bright. Here is a checklist for you to get you started in preparing your home for the years to come:

  • Place double-sided rug tape under area rug edges
Rug Tape
  • *Repaint your rooms using paint with odor eliminator or microbicidal paint, which prevents staff infections during surgery or illness recovery
  • Remove a bathtub in one of your multiple bathrooms and replace with a zero-entry shower and add an adjustable shower head for those that might have to sit while showering
Walk in Shower instead of tub
  • Replace kitchen cabinets with cabinet shelving that pulls out or pulls down and that  requires low physical effort
Pull Out Shelving
  • Bring the microwave down and under the counter
  • *Add more task lighting throughout your home, including floor lamps for reading and under-cabinet lighting in the kitchen. Task lighting will help with reading dosage on medications and will help with cooking safety and enable you to read cooking instructions on food boxes.
Floor lamps for reading
Task Lighting

*Did you notice that I made a point of bringing your attention to paint and lighting? After the age of 60, we need three times more ambient light. And by the age of 70, we see color through our eye lens that is no longer crystal clear but that has changed to the color of weak tea.  It becomes more difficult to discern between pale blue and pale green, so use pastels with caution, yet very dark colors, such as dark blue, can look even darker to those who are aging.

Contrast is important too. A darker wall color in the bathroom will help to make the sink and toilet more visible. An all neutral or monochromatic decorating palette may make it difficult to perceive edges of furniture. Use a flat or matte based finish paint since a higher sheen will create glare and discomfort to the aging eye.

Declutter! If you’re a “saver”, spend at least an hour a week on decluttering, you don’t have to do it all in one day.

  • Do you have boxes of your adult children’s drawings and school work? Give them to your children (I bet they won’t want them – c’mon let’s be honest. When was the last time you asked YOUR parents if you could see a box of YOUR kindergarten drawings?) Or frame one drawing from each child and toss the rest.
  • Do you have checkbook stubs from 20 years ago? Neither you nor anyone else will ever need to see those stubs. Get yourself an inexpensive shredder and start that shredding. Mice and bugs love to reside in a home full of stacks of paperwork, eeewwww!
Declutter!

Lastly, don’t forget to pay attention to the outside of your home. Indoor/outdoor living is wonderful! Make a room outside by simply placing a comfy all-weather chair and little table next to the chair to place a book or cup of coffee. Be sure that you have safety measures in place outside your home too. Do you have one entrance without steps or at least very few low profile steps? Is your sidewalk, driveway or patio made of slip-resistant materials? Don’t forget the importance of exterior lighting too.

Illuminate the outdoors

Even if you don’t plan on aging in place but have every intention of moving into a senior community or a smaller home, all of the above updates are good for resale. They benefit children if a young family will move into your home and wheelchair-bound seniors too.

If you need help in updating or renovating your home, send me an email at mbzinteriors@gmail.com and we can get started on a conversation to prepare your home so that you can age in place in the home that you love.