Ageing-in-place is the concept of allowing our elderly parents to continue living in their own homes, rather than moving to a nursing home or assisted living facility. It is becoming increasingly popular among older adults for a variety of reasons.
One of the main reasons is to allow our parents to maintain their independence and autonomy. They are able to make their own decisions about their daily routines and activities, rather than having to follow the schedule and rules of a nursing home or assisted living facility. It helps them retain more of their freedom.
Another reason is that ageing-in-place can be more cost-effective than moving to a nursing home or assisted living facility. The cost of these facilities can be high, and older adults may be able to save money by staying in their own homes.
Additionally, ageing in place can improve an older adult’s overall health and well-being. Studies have shown that older adults who are able to stay in their own homes have better physical and mental health than those who move to assisted living facilities.
The importance of ageing-in-place home renovations
Home renovation is an important aspect of ageing-in-place as it helps ensure that your elderly parent’s home is safe and comfortable for them to continue living in. There are several ways in which home renovations can improve the safety and comfort of your parents.
One way is by making the home more accessible. This can include installing grab bars in the bathroom, adding a ramp to the front entrance, or widening doorways to make it easier for a person using a wheelchair or walker to move around the home.
Another way is by making the home more energy efficient. This can include installing energy-efficient windows and appliances, adding insulation, or upgrading the heating and cooling system. Making a home more energy efficient can help lower utility bills and make the home more comfortable for your parents to live in.
Additionally, home renovation can also include making the home more secure. This can include installing security cameras, adding deadbolts to doors, or upgrading the home’s lighting to make it safer for an older adult to move around the home at night.
Safety and accessibility modifications
There are various modifications that can be made to a home to increase safety and accessibility for elderly individuals. Here are some of the main modifications undertaken around the home:
- Installing handrails: Handrails can be added to stairways and hallways to provide support and stability for your parents as they move around the home. This can help reduce the risk of falls, which is a leading cause of injury among many elderly parents.
- Widening doorways: Widening doorways can make it easier for older adults using wheelchairs or walkers to move around their homes. This can improve mobility and independence, as well as reduce the risk of falls and injuries.
- Adding grab bars in the bathroom: Grab bars can be installed in the bathroom to provide support and stability for older adults while they are using the toilet, and getting in and out of the shower or bathtub. These can be especially helpful for those with balance or mobility issues.
- Lever door handles, non-slip flooring, and increased lighting can also be added to make the home more accessible and safer.
Other modifications can also be of use but may be less common or could include higher price tags. Here are some that are commonly used to support the elderly:
- Further bathroom modifications to improve accessibility might include a walk-in bathtub, a wet room shower with a seat, a toilet with a built-in bidet and a wall-mounted sink which has been installed at an accessible level. One final idea would be to install touchless faucets so that they can be turned on with the wave of a hand.
- Upgrading their furniture. Getting in and out of a chair is something that we take for granted, but you may find that your parents are now starting to struggle with this simple task. When you are renovating their home, you should definitely consider upgrading their furniture. While big plush sofas are very comfortable, for your elderly parents, it can be difficult to lift yourself out of them, so you should consider upgrading their furniture to something more suitable. Rise and recliner chairs are a great option for older people who struggle with getting in and out of chairs, as they can provide support for people who have a range of mobility issues.
- Access ramps, stair lifts or elevators will also help overcome difficulties with stairs. Ramps will be appropriate when there are just a few stairs to overcome, normally at the front and back of a property. Stair lifts are ideal for installation when an elevator isn’t viable or a cost-effective option.
- Lowering worktops, cabinets and shelving can be a great way to increase accessibility and safety. For a relatively low cost, you can make many areas of your parent’s home much easier to use.
Technology can play an important role in making a home safer for your elderly parents. Some examples of how technology can help include:
- Smart home systems: These systems allow for remote control of lighting, heating, and security, making it easier for your parents to control their environment and stay safe.
- Medication reminders: There are devices and apps that can remind them to take their medication at the right time and alert their caregivers or loved ones if they miss a dose.
- Personal emergency response systems (PERS): These systems allow your parents to call for help in case of an emergency, such as a fall or a medical issue, by pressing a button on a wearable device or a pendant.
- Smart home monitoring systems: These systems can include cameras, sensors, and alarms that can detect unusual activity or potential hazards in the home and alert caregivers or loved ones.
- Voice assistants: devices such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home can be used to control lights, thermostats, and other appliances, set reminders, make phone calls, and even call emergency services.
- Wearable technology: wearables such as smart watches or fitness trackers can be used to monitor vital signs, track activity levels, and alert caregivers if something is out of the normal range.
- Robot vacuum cleaners can help with the daily and weekly tasks of having to clean the house. These can be teamed up with a robot mop to make cleaning super easy for your elderly parents. Then, you’ll only need to worry about the deeper, monthly cleans.
So technology can play a crucial role in making a home safer for elderly people by providing convenience, security, and peace of mind. It allows older adults to live independently in their homes and can help caregivers and loved ones stay connected and informed about their well-being.
Energy-efficient homes could help your elderly parents in a number of ways. Some key examples include:
- Lowering energy bills: Energy-efficient appliances, lighting, and heating and cooling systems can help lower energy bills, which can be especially beneficial for older adults on a fixed income.
- Improving indoor air quality: Energy-efficient measures, such as sealing air leaks and improving insulation, can help improve indoor air quality by reducing drafts and controlling humidity levels. This can be especially important for older adults with respiratory conditions.
- Enhancing comfort: Energy-efficient measures, such as programmable thermostats, can help enhance comfort by allowing older adults to more easily control the temperature in their home.
- Increasing safety: Energy-efficient measures, such as motion-sensing lighting, can help increase safety by providing better visibility in the home and reducing the need for older adults to walk through dark or poorly lit areas.
Energy efficiency can help older adults in a number of ways at home, including reducing energy bills, improving indoor air quality, enhancing comfort, increasing safety, and reducing their carbon footprint. Implementing energy-efficient measures can be an important step in ageing in place and making a home more comfortable and liveable for your parents.
How much does it all cost?
The cost to renovate your parent’s home to make it safer and more comfortable can vary widely depending on the specific modifications that are needed. Some simple modifications, such as installing handrails or grab bars in the bathroom, can cost a few hundred pounds. Other modifications, such as installing a stair lift, can cost several thousand pounds. More extensive renovations, such as adding a bedroom or bathroom on the ground floor, can cost tens of thousands.
It will be up to you to decide how far you want to take these renovation projects. A deciding factor might be to weigh up the costs of a care home. If you’re on a budget and have some DIY skills then a number of these projects might be possible by yourself.
In conclusion, ageing in place is becoming increasingly popular among elderly parents as it allows them to continue living in the comfort and familiarity of their own homes while receiving the necessary support to maintain their independence and well-being. Home renovation is an important aspect of ageing in place, as it can make the home safer and more comfortable for your parents to continue living in. Modifications such as installing handrails, widening doorways, adding grab bars in the bathroom, building a wheelchair ramp, installing a stair lift and elevators, can increase safety and accessibility, reducing the risk of falls and making it easier for them to move around their home.
Additionally, technology can play an important role in making a home safer for elderly people, by providing convenience, security, and peace of mind. Energy efficiency also plays an important role in making a home more comfortable for elderly people, by reducing energy bills, improving indoor air quality, enhancing comfort, increasing safety, and reducing carbon footprint. The cost of renovating an elderly person’s home to make it safer and more comfortable can vary widely depending on the specific modifications that are needed, the location, the materials and the contractor you choose. It’s important to research and explore all the options available, including financial assistance programs, to help cover the cost of the renovation.