Jim and Barbara Smith installed a smooth paved path to replace the steep steps that previously led from the street to their front door.
The Smiths urge people to consider seniorizing their homes while they are healthy, even though the topic is not always comfortable -- some people don't like to confront old age, and don't even make wills. The changes can prove cost-effective if they enable people to stay in their own homes, perhaps with attendants, rather than move into assisted-living facilities.
"We have not tallied up the cost yet, but at $4,000 a month and up [for assisted-living facilities], if our renovations keep us out of assisted living for a few months, it has paid for itself," Barbara said in an email.
The new bathroom paired with an existing bedroom in the basement could accommodate a live-in caregiver, if necessary.
"We're ready for come what may," she said.
Tips for safe senior living
Senior Care Corner suggests the following tips for making a home safe and convenient for people whose mobility and agility becomes limited during the aging process.
Examine kitchen cabinets and make sure items used regularly are within easy reach to prevent injuries from stretching or climbing.
Replace decorative drawer and cabinet handles with styles that are easier for aging hands to grasp and pull.
Place an up-to-date and easy-to-use fire extinguisher within close reach of the stove.
Move furniture with corners and edges away from the bed to reduce the possibility of injury from a fall getting out of bed.
Remove or secure throw rugs to prevent slipping or tripping on them.
Install grab bars in tub and toilet areas.
Set water heater to 120 degrees or less to prevent scalding.
Install a raised toilet seat or taller toilet for ease in access.
General living areas:
Add nightlights throughout the home to reduce the risk of injury walking in a dark home.
Purchase wireless phones or cellphones that may be carried throughout the home to be at hand in emergency and to avoid injury rushing to answer calls.
Remove or relocate electrical cords that can be tripping hazards.
Outside the home:
Inspect walkways and the driveway, repairing any areas that present a tripping hazard.
Check to see that all steps, including those into doorways, are not high enough to be a tripping hazard for seniors carrying items; install ramps if needed.
Reach Julie Robinson at jul...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1230.