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Aging In Place – Helping Boomers, Zoomers and Seniors Stay at Home

Aging In Place – Helping Boomers, Zoomers and Seniors  Stay at Home

Many of us are facing, or have parents facing, the daunting decision of staying in the home in which we have raised our families and created memories or moving into a new place that may offer some more supportive living arrangements.  The decision is an emotional one and the need to make a drastic lifestyle change can be overwhelming.  We have all heard the sad stories of our elders moving out of their homes and finding their new spaces less than comfortable, if not downright depressing or worse!

Whether you are a child wishing to create a space for your aging loved one in your own home or looking for options to assist them to remain in theirs, retro-fitting existing spaces makes the best sense. While there are upfront costs  to any renovation, the retro fit can save you money over the long haul compared to the cost of assisted living facilities or nursing homes. Utilizing a home equity line of credit to make this happen may not be an option for low income Seniors, but  CMHC can help defray the cost through a program called the Home Adaptations for Seniors’ Independence (HASI), which offers a $3500 forgivable loan for minor home adaptations that will help low-income seniors to perform daily activities in their home independently and
safely. To find out how to apply for financial assistance, or for more information about these programs, please call CMHC toll free at 1-800-668-2642.

For those wishing to remain at home there are many solutions ranging from the most simple to achieve to more extensive renovations.  Here is a list of retrofits  to consider :

  • Door Handles: Lever-style door handles without locking mechanism are easier to manage and preclude the danger of inadvertently getting locked into the bathroom.  The
    lever style is easier for aging hands to grip and manage.
  • Railings and Bars: Install weight-bearing handrails or grab bars around toilets and bathing areas to assist in transferring.
  • Raise the Toilet: Install a raised toilet in the bathrooms, again to help with transferring.
  • Handrails: Install handrails on all steps and stairs
  • Stair Lifts: If the home is two story consider a stair lift
  • Residential Elevators: A more expensive but useful alternative is the residential elevator – there are models available that can fit into a closet space.
  • Remove Trip Hazards: Try to eliminate any transition points where floor surfaces change (hardwood to carpeting). The ideal is to have one surface running throughout the home so that all
    trip hazards are eliminated.  That includes removing area rugs as well.
  • Make Slipper Surfaces Rough: Consider treating slippery floor surfaces with non-skid treatments.
  • Light it Up! Increase the lighting in all areas. Put table lamps on wall switched outlets for ease of turning on and off.
  • Sleep Downstairs: bring the master bedroom to the main living level and have a bathroom installed.

These are just some suggestions to make it possible to stay home.  Additionally, consider a home monitoring system such as Life Line (http://www.lifeline.ca/) or  to cameras in key areas that can be monitored through the internet such as Smart Home Monitoring (http://www.rogers.com/).

Remember “there’s no place like home”, so make it a safe one !