STATEPOINT -- More seniors than ever before are living healthy independent lives well into their golden years. And a vast majority want to remain in their homes as long as possible, according to National Aging in Place Council.
However, most houses were not built to adapt to our changing needs as we age.
By 2030, Americans 65 and older will make up 20 percent of the population. For those wishing to make aging-in-place easier, there are several things to consider.
Eliminate clutter that could get in your way, such as planters and small console tables.
Pay attention to area rugs and other tripping hazards. And if you have wood floors and carpeting, install transition strips where they adjoin.
Evaluate your entryway
To ideally accommodate a wheelchair, the doorway to your home should be at least 32-inches wide. Even without a wheelchair, a wider opening can be beneficial when entering and exiting.
There are different doors you can install to meet your mobility needs and personal style. For example, Therma-Tru offers 42-inch wide entry doors in its Classic-Craft Rustic Collection and Classic-Craft Oak Collection, to allow for easier access and for dramatic and elegant curb appeal.
Also consider how the door swings. A door that swings in may be easier to operate than one swinging out. A remodeling contractor can help determine what your home can accommodate structurally, provide recommendations for styles and handle installation.
Tweak Bathrooms and Kitchens
Lowering countertops in your kitchen and bathroom can make using them easier. And consider grab-bars for showers and bathtubs. For their part, curbless showers and bathtubs with entrances that open can reduce the possibility of falling.
Get a Grip
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 67 million adults will have doctor-diagnosed arthritis by the year 2030. For them, just turning a doorknob can be painfully difficult. Consider installing lever-style handles on exterior and interior doors.
Upgrade patio doors
Patio doors tend to receive more traffic than front doors. If your patio door is due for an upgrade, you can choose the classic elegance of a hinged door or the modern convenience of a sliding door. Both are available in two-, three- or four-panel configurations to ensure a wide opening.
Above all, when adapting your home, keep an eye on making your daily life easier.