Aging in Place: Ensuring Safety and Peace of Mind for Older Homeowners

As the aging population continues to grow, more and more seniors are looking for ways to maintain their independence and stay in their own homes for as long as possible. Many desire to live in their own homes until it becomes physically impossible to do so safely, as doing so maintains an abundance of independence you may not experience in a senior living center.

Aging within the comfort of your own home, often referred to as "aging in place," offers a sense of familiarity, comfort, and independence. Preparing to age in place involves taking proactive measures not just in your daily life, but also in your home. For example, meal preparation can become a difficult yet essential task to help you have healthy food readily available and keep the monthly budget intact. If physical ailments stand in the way of properly preparing and cooking meals, we recommend exploring options such as getting meal delivery or hiring an in-house caregiver.

Healthcare plays a pivotal role in “aging in place” successfully. It is essential to establish a network of healthcare professionals who specialize in geriatric care. Regular check-ups and appointments with physicians, including geriatricians, can help monitor overall health and address any medical concerns promptly. It is also wise to designate a point of contact, whether a family member or friend, who can be available in case of emergencies or unforeseen circumstances.

While these are important for aging in place, protecting the health and safety of older adults in their homes becomes vitally important as they continue to age. By preparing and adapting their living environment to meet their changing needs, seniors can enjoy a higher quality of life and maintain a sense of autonomy.

The Importance of Routine Preventive Inspections

Importance of Routine Preventive Inspections

Just like our bodies, our homes age. While symptoms of our own health may be more noticeable than our home’s, even the most minor issues can often turn into costly repairs that can leave you or your loved ones temporarily displaced and financially burdened.

WIN Home Inspection is the #1 home inspection company in the industry due to our expertise and commitment to ensuring the safety and comfort of homeowners and their families. We offer a wide range of comprehensive health, safety and preventive maintenance services to identify potential hazards. Air quality, radon, and mold tests are particularly crucial, as poor air quality and high radon or mold levels can lead to respiratory problems, allergies, and other health issues that can further exacerbate existing conditions. Infrared (IR) scans are also necessary as they can detect hidden problems like insulation gaps, electrical issues, and water leaks that can cause issues ranging from energy inefficiency to home fires. By addressing these concerns early, individuals can create a safer, more comfortable living environment and enjoy their home for years to come.

WIN’s Healthy Home Check

Our comprehensive Healthy Home Check ensures peace of mind for homeowners in all stages of life. Our core services include a Home Maintenance Assessment, which assesses the major components of the home including the roof, foundation, interior and exterior areas, plumbing, electrical, and HVAC. We’ll even thoroughly assess the hard-to-reach areas of the home such as the attic, crawlspace, and basement. Our Healthy Home Check also includes an Infrared (IR) Scan that can detect thermal abnormalities in electrical wiring and water damage as well as an Air Quality Test that identifies possible allergens that may exacerbate allergies, asthma, or other respiratory conditions.

Checklist: How to Age in Place in Your Home

As you enter a new phase of life, health and safety become all the more important, as your body can no longer heal at the rate it could during your younger years.

  • Check to ensure all guardrails and handrails are sturdy

  • Add nonslip mats in the shower, bathroom, kitchen and other areas that pose a fall risk

  • Invest in added security around the home

  • Have the home tested for poor air quality and mold that could pose respiratory risks

  • Purchase heart rate monitors and other technologies that can alert your friends or family members when you are in trouble

  • Set the thermostat on your water heater no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent burning when bathing and washing hands

  • Test your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors once a month

  • Change air filters more frequently

Home Modifications for Enhanced Accessibility

While your home fit your needs when you first purchased it, your needs have likely changed as you’ve begun to age in place, making modifications necessary to maintain safety within your home. This could include widening doorways, adding ramps in front or behind the house for easier access, installing grab bars throughout the home, investing in furniture to increase mobility, and ensuring proper lighting throughout the home. Some advanced features could include installing a stair lift or remodeling areas of the home that pose a safety risk.

Tips for Maintaining a Healthy and Active Lifestyle

Physical well-being should not be neglected just because you’re getting older. Light workouts tailored to individual abilities can help maintain strength, flexibility, and overall health. Consider scheduling weekly walks with friends and family to upkeep your social life, have an event to look forward to every week, and maintain physical ability. Regular doctor's appointments, similar to annual home inspections, are vital for health monitoring and detecting potential health problems early.

Maintaining a clean and healthy living environment is also crucial for older individuals. For those who are financially able, housekeepers are great options to keep your home organized and free of dust particles that can accumulate beyond one’s notice, making allergies more prevalent. Even seemingly small tasks like washing dishes and folding laundry can get more physically tiring, and you deserve to rest easy and focus your time and energy on tasks that bring you joy.

Additionally, poor air quality is a growing issue with increased urbanization and wildfires, posing risks for seniors. During days of poor outdoor air quality, keep windows shut to prevent pollutants from entering the home. Invest in air purifiers, and regularly replace air filters to ensure a safer and more comfortable living environment. If you are worried about indoor air quality or are feeling like your allergies are worse than normal, consider scheduling an Air Quality Test with WIN today.