Living home alone at an older age can be a daunting concept. Many homes are not built to accommodate our increasing needs as  a person ages. Everything from stairs to high cabinets to power outages can pose a significant obstacle to overcome.


How do we keep the elderly living alone a home as a safe as possible?


Despite the challenges it can pose, most elderly living alone do not want to leave their homes. The idea of being unable to age-in-place, or permanently reside in their homes even in light of advancing long-term care needs, is not one they want to think about. While planning for this possibility is a conversation to have with an elder law attorney as soon as possible, the good news is that creating an age-friendly home is possible.


We want to share with you five ideas for the elderly living alone that you can implement to help ensure you are safe in your own home.


1. Put a shower-appropriate chair in your bathroom. Putting a chair in your shower stall or bathtub means that you will not have to stand up to bathe yourself. Anyone, at any age, is susceptible to slipping in the shower and hurting him or herself. This scenario can be avoided by having somewhere to sit.


2. Put handrails in places. Adding handrails to places where you feel like you may lose your balance is a critical step. The bathroom is a commonplace to put handrails in order to get up and down from the toilet. You can also have your handyman install handrails in your hallways or on the stairwells so that you have support you can access while you walk in your home.


3. Install an electric chair on your staircase. Staircases can pose a safety hazard, but the homes of many Older Americans have them. If you don’t feel comfortable going up and down the stairs, consider installing an electric chair that can take you up and down the stairs while you are sitting down. Be sure to consider investing in an electric chair that includes a seatbelt.


4. Put extra lights in areas that are dark. If you can see more clearly you are less likely to fall when walking. For the elderly living along, motion lights can be especially helpful because you don’t have to worry about finding the switch.


5. Place frequently used items within reach. Placing frequently used items in hard to reach places can increase the risk of falling or injury. Make sure that your cabinets and drawers can be easily reached. When you can, avoid using a ladder or footstool to reach for things.


In order to age-in-place, it is likely that you may need to make adjustments to your home.  Where possible, try to make changes proactively to avoid any accidents in the future. Whether you are starting to plan or past the point where you believe adaptive changes will benefit you in your home, do not wait to schedule your long-term care planning meeting with a member of our legal team.