Changing health and abilities can make it hard for a senior citizen to age in place. Have you talked about this with your mom? While she may want to age at home, is her house suitable for it? Make sure you look at these aspects of aging a home when your family is discussing your mom’s health and safety.

Stairs and Entryways

If your mom’s mobility changes, how easily can she get in and out of her house? If she needs a walker, is her home one level or will she be using stairs? If she has lots of stairs both inside and outside the house, how easy would it be to put in a stair lift?

How easy is it for her to navigate stairs going into the house from outside? If she’s in a wheelchair, she’s going to need a ramp. Could you install a ramp outside to match ADA requirements? If there’s not a lot of yard available, odds are high that it couldn’t be done.

Another concern families run into involves wheelchairs. If your mom needed a wheelchair, older homes often have narrower doorways. A doorway needs to be at least 32 inches wide. If your mom’s doorways are narrower than that, she wouldn’t be able to enter that room in a wheelchair. Hallways need to be at least 36 inches wide.

Kitchen Layout

How is your mom’s kitchen arranged? Are her cabinets low or high? She’s likely to struggle to reach items that are in high cabinets without climbing on a chair or step stool. If her balance is off, she could fall. Moving commonly used items and ingredients to lower cabinets and shelves is best.

You can also add pull-out drawers and lazy susans to cupboards to make it easier for your mom. Instead of having to reach into the far corners of a lower cupboard she can pull a drawer out or spin a lazy susan and have items come to her.

Bathroom Grab Bars

She needs to have grab bags added to her bathroom. Ideally, you want them in the shower or bathtub stall, outside that wall, and near the toilet. Some grab bars have two bars welded together. The top bar is a grab bar, and the lower bar is a towel holder. This eliminates having both grab bars and towel racks taking up wall space.

Involve a home care agency in the latter part of your discussions. Representatives can help your mom understand the services available in her area. She’ll learn more about the ways elder care services can help her stay safe. Call an elder care agency today to get answers to your family’s questions.

If you are considering elder care in Cheshire, CT, for your aging parent, please contact the caring staff at Franciscan Ever There Care. Call today 203-630-2881.

Christopher LaRiviere

Christopher LaRiviere is the Executive Director of Franciscan Ever There, a faith based non-profit organization located in Meriden CT.