Our first thought goes to installing grab bars and making sure the bathroom floor isn’t slippery, and perhaps getting a chair that lifts you up and out. But to really age in place one must think about all aspects of our lives as it is in our 5os and 60s, not as it will be in our 80s. What hobbies do we have now that keep our brains sharp, our bodies moving and mouths fed with foods we like, that we will want and need to continue when it is most necessary yet we are least able.
To wonder if the aging boom is going to reach you consider this interesting observation from “The Shock of Gray”. Phillips Lifeline, the company who answers our emergency calls from a button, has more than 6 million customers and can average seven hundred thousand calls by mid-morning. The “Gray” factor has hit not only our country but Germany, Poland, Japan, and the list goes on.
Imagine being able to cook a meal, tend to a garden, invite friends over for tea and shower, all while sitting in a wheel chair because your knees have given out on you but your mind is sharp. Or finding your way to the bathroom during the night while visually impaired due to macular degeneration. What happens if you contract arthritis but are otherwise healthy? All of these conditions, and many more are out there and we are susceptible to one or two. But is that enough to put us in a nursing home?
In many cultures it is customary for our relatives to care for us as we age and cannot do things for ourselves. But that tends to fill many of us with guilt about the burden we have become. Preparing your home now in all aspects of design will significantly decrease the burden as we will be able to do more for ourselves with less.