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Aging in Place

Definition: Aging in Place is the idea that an elderly person will be able to live in the residence of his or her choice for as long as possible. To age in place a person must be able to:

  1. Have needs met.
  2. Maintain quality of life

For most elderly people, the residences of choice are their own homes. If a person wishes to continue to live independently at home, he or she must plan ahead for the changes that may be needed to allow that person to continue to live at home. The following chart reviews some of the physical and cognitive changes that may occur as people age and the adaptations that can be provided to allow people to continue to live at home:

Physical Change Adaptations Photo/Video
Decreased mobility, including the possible need to use a cane, walker or wheelchair. -Widen doorways to accommodate a walker or wheelchair.
-Add a ramp to one entryway of the home.
-Raise sunken living room or sunken den floors to make the floor of the home one level.
-Install chair lifts for second story or basement stairs.
-Remove throw rugs.
-Remove unnecessary furniture and clutter.
-Provide chairs with firm support and/or place chairs on risers.
-Install a raised toilet seat or a tall toilet.
-Install a hand held shower and provide a shower stool or bath bench.
-Install grab bars in the bathroom, near the bed, and near the entry ways.

Reduced vision, including visual impairments due to cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, or diabetic retinopathy. -Increase lighting by installing brighter LED light bulbs, additional light fixtures, or additional lamps.
-Increase contrast on floors, walkways and steps.
-contrast dark rugs or mats on light floors, light rugs or mats on dark floors.
-place contrasting tape on the edges of steps.
-Keep needed items in the same places for easy access.
-frequently used kitchen items between chest and head height.
-keep items where they are used.
-Provide large button electronic and communication devices.
-large button telephone
-large button television remote
-Use magnifiers
-Adjust settings on computers to enlarge print and increase contrast.
-Mark stove dials, water faucet handles with raised dots to mark temperatures.

Hearing loss -Increase the volume on telephone settings, doorbell, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
-Replace old smoke and carbon monoxide alarms with alarms that include flashing lights.
-Use telephones and alarm clocks that include flashing lights.
-Provide an alarm clock that includes a bed shaker.
-Sign up for telephone TTY service if hearing impairment is severe.

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