Planning Ahead, Aging At Home

Planning Ahead Can Help You Stay in Your Home as You Age

13414072_mNo one wants to be forced to move because of age-related disabilities. If you plan ahead, you can start make the changes that will allow you to “age in place” and continue to enjoy your home safely and conveniently. Most homes are not designed with aging in mind, and have features that can make life difficult or dangerous as strength, coordination, and vision decline. The May issue of the Harvard Health Letter suggests five steps to adapting your home, gradually, so that the work can be done affordably.

Planning Instead of Reacting

Looking at your home with your potential future need in mind today can spare you from taking emergency actions later. You want to keep in mind needs such as:

  • Cooking
  • Bathing
  • Where you sleep
  • Lighting
  • General accessibility

Simple modifications, such as changing to lever-style doorknobs and rearranging your pantry so that items you use regularly are on lower shelves, can be inexpensive or cost-free, but make life easier and safer.

More extensive modifications, such as widening doorways and adding wheelchair ramps, are more costly but still cheaper than moving, and can mean living independently in the years to come.


One aspect of home modification that is often overlooked is lighting. As eyesight and coordination decline with age, proper lighting becomes and important safety feature. Make sure your light switches are easy to reach, easy to use, and placed where you need them. That can mean installing switches at both ends of hallways, and stairs. Automatic nightlights and indoor pathway lighting can help prevent falls when you get up in the middle of the night.

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