Do You Want to Age in Place?

Gwen Garrison |

When you think about aging in place, your home matters! It should be a place where you feel safe and secure, in a community where you belong and have supportive friends and neighbors.

Do you move or do you stay in your current home? That question may be difficult to answer. You need to study your options, advises Pam Bruce, a Realtor, interior space designer, and 69-years-young senior with a passion for staying safe at home and assisting her Atlanta friends to do the same.

For example, Bruce says to consider the daunting and expensive tasks of maintaining a house (if you own your home), review your finances, consult with a professional in the field of aging, and talk to friends who are in a similar situation. You can gather information to consider your options and determine what is best for you. Be sure to factor in the emotional value of a place where you have friends and are already comfortable, she adds.

You can be assured that you are not alone in facing choices about where and how to spend your senior adult years, Bruce advises. Check out aarp.org for advice and resources as well.  After researching the options (check out the sites online – you will find an abundance of information about Aging in Place), perhaps you choose to stay where you presently live and enjoy your home and community.

No matter where you live – consider making your home as safe as possible (make an “adult-proof home”, similar to a “baby-proof home”). Create an environment that is safe for you to enjoy your daily routines, entertain your friends and family and address your particular needs. According to the Centers for Disease Control, “people are more likely to suffer a traumatic brain injury from falling than from any other cause.” Brain injuries and broken bones can require long and difficult recoveries to regain your independence, so do your best to prevent a fall.

How might you prevent a fall? One approach involves some simple tasks.  Provide an abundance of light in all areas of your home (outside and inside) no matter whether it is day or night. Look at your home and scout areas where there are steps, or a threshold with a level change, or floors that commonly get wet and slippery. Those are the places to install and use grab bars and handrails. You can add anti-slip tape on stairs and strips for the bathtub and shower.  Remove small area rugs and anchor down larger rugs with furniture or adhesive tapes.  Above all, keep areas and paths clear of obstacles, such as toys, electrical wires, computer cables, discarded shoes or other items. Be aware of your surroundings and train yourself to routinely hold onto handrails. Then you can quickly tighten your grip to prevent a fall.

Other measures can include changing from glass to plastic containers in the bathroom, avoiding oils in the bath or shower, and adding a stool or small chair if needed in the shower.  It’s important to wipe water off the floor immediately, to get in and out of the tub slowly and carefully—these are common areas where people fall.

Also, store items within reach so that you can get to everything without a step ladder or needing someone’s assistance. Wear sturdy and safe shoes that do not have slippery soles. Be mindful of your environment and make appropriate home modifications to help prevent a fall.

Finally, choose and, perhaps train your furry friends carefully. Dogs or cats provide valuable companionship, but make sure your pet isn’t fond of trying to weave around your ankles while you walk or pulling the leash forcefully.

You can age safely and stay at home, if you take the time and have a little fun creating your adult-proof home. Pam Bruce invites you to contact her at pbrucedesign@mindspring.com to start the discussion about your safe home. Gwen and Sibyl are available to talk with you about financial options and choosing a home in which to age. Go to www.lifeplanfinancialadvisors.com or call for a convenient virtual or phone meeting. Feel free to share this information with anyone who will benefit from reading it.