Top 4 Aging in Place Pitfalls

The majority of older adults report a desire to age in their long-time home. When considering whether or not this is the best option, it is important to consider the most common safety weaknesses of many homes:

1. Tubs, Showers, and Toilets

Slippery steps, a tub below floor-level, and no handrails are three ingredients for an accident.

The fix: Consider installing a walk-in shower and grab bars. One grab bar should be at the entrance to the shower, one along the back wall and another near the toilet. In addition, consider installing higher toilets for easier access.

2. Steps

Even one step into a house of 6 inches could be a challenge for someone with a walker or in a wheelchair.

The fix: Add a removable ramp for easier entrances and exits. For homes with vertical entrances of more than 2 feet, consider installing a lift. For larger sets of stairs, look into the option of adding a stair lift or glide. Additional handrails could also help.

3. Slippery Floors

Many materials used to design bathroom and kitchen floors can be slippery. Throw rugs without rubber backing (or that are unattached) could also create a problem.

The fix: Runners with rubber backing are an inexpensive solution. Peel and stick traction slips also are available for some floor surfaces.

4. Lighting

Inadequate lighting could be an issue in several areas of the home such as entrances, bathrooms, hallways and bedrooms. Bedrooms are frequently under-lit with a single light fixture.

The fix: Upgrade to LED bulbs, which are brighter and have the potential for a longer service life. They are more expensive, but usually won't need to be replaced as often.

Source: “Slideshow: Top Five Aging in Place Home Pitfalls.” Caregiver Stress,