If given the choice, most older adults prefer to age in place. In fact, an AARP survey conducted in 2010 states that nearly 90% of people over the age of 65 want to stay in their residence and community for as long as possible. These statistics aren’t surprising when taking into consideration the numerous benefits aging in place can offer. From promoting health and self-esteem, to preventing homesickness and depression, there are several ways that aging in place can improve the quality of life of seniors.
According to nursing research conducted in 2005, adults aging in place exhibited better levels of cognition, better functioning in daily living activities, and decreased levels of depression compared to older adults aging in nursing home settings. Aging in place can be more comfortable, and more affordable than moving to an assisted living facility. In addition, it can help older adults maintain a sense of independence and reduce feelings of isolation, because it allows them to remain part of their community.
But living at home as you age requires careful consideration and planning to accommodate evolving needs. Aging in place remodeling involves modifying a home so that it’s safe, comfortable, and manageable for a senior to live in regardless of their physical limitations.
There are several products on the market today that can help create a safer, more accessible home for seniors who are aging in place. Here are several products available at PIRCH that can help you age-in-place safely, comfortably, and aesthetically. Not only can these products make it easier for someone to live in the home, but they can also provide peace of mind to loved ones who are caring for an elderly parent, spouse, friend, or other family member.
One essential safety feature to consider for aging in place bathroom modifications is installing grab bars. Grab bars create a safer bathing and overall bathroom experience for seniors because they offer a secure and steady place for people with balance and mobility issues to grab onto for support. They can be placed in the shower, around the toilet, or anywhere where support is needed to help prevent accidental falls that often happen in the bathroom, a space that typically has slippery, hard surfaces.
Kartners is a leading manufacturer of bathroom accessories that offers a wide range of products, including grab bars, to enhance the functionality and aesthetic of any bathroom. They are offered in many styles, sizes, and finishes, blending seamlessly with traditional, transitional, or modern bathroom design styles. Not only are they beautiful, but they are extremely durable and capable of withstanding significant weight due to their all-brass construction. They are also ADA Approved.
Another great option are Deluxe Grab Bars from California Faucets. They are available in ten distinctive styles, seven lengths, and in over twenty-five artisan finishes, giving homeowners the ultimate flexibility in creating the safest bathroom possible, while staying true to their unique design vision. Each solid brass grab bar design features decorative base rings with artistic accents such as knurling, ornamental ball design, or industrial-style precision markings, on the end of each bar. With designs to match all styles from traditional and contemporary to transitional, industrial, and even their unique Steampunk Bay Series, there is a grab bar style to coordinate with any of the company’s bath products.
Another worthwhile bathroom product to consider for those who are aging-in-place is a shower seat. Shower seats can add comfort and safety to the bathing experience because they can help relieve the strain experienced when standing for long periods of time. Shower seats can also decrease the risk of falling, making it an essential to bathroom aging-in-place design.
This comfortable, water-resistant shower seat from WETSTYLE is a luxurious addition to any shower, but is especially ideal for the elderly because it allows you to sit down and relax as you bathe. This seat is ADA compliant, wall mounted, and features a soft polyurethane foam cushion that is available in white or grey. With a waterproof design made from stainless steel, this fixture is available in a mirror or brushed finish.
Handheld Shower Head
Handheld showerheads can be a useful element in aging in place bathroom design because they offer people the ability to bring shower water to themselves while remaining seated – which can feel safer or more convenient if standing for long periods of time is challenging.
California Faucets offers a vast selection of brass multi-function hand showers that come in a variety of styles, including traditional, contemporary, industrial, and even steampunk. Featuring rain, air, and massage settings as well as helpful self-cleaning rubber jets, these highly durable and ergonomic hand showers are an excellent option for someone who is aging in place.
Another product that many seniors can benefit from is heated floors. As we age, our bodies tend to get cold faster, especially during the winter months. Older adults have less-elastic blood vessel walls and less fat, therefore they have a harder time preserving body heat. For this reason, it is especially important to ensure that seniors have proper heating solutions when aging in place. Floor heating is a modern heating solution, creating the perfect temperature, making you feel warm and comfortable from the moment you enter the room.
Warmup is a British-based company focused on developing innovative heating solutions that bring energy-efficient warmth to people’s lives. Their floor heaters offer a low-carbon heating solution and utilize radiant heat technology to warm people in a space with infrared energy, rather than just warming the air. This means the same feeling of warmth can be achieved with lower temperatures, which reduces heat loss and improves energy efficiency.
Smart Toilets and Bidets
TOTO’s Smart Toilets and Washlet Bidets are a great option for those aging in place because they are hygienic and help older adults remain independent. In addition to the bidet function, the TOTO Washlet also has a heated seat, and a drying function which gently dries difficult-to-reach areas with warm air. They also use a stain and germ resistant coating on every product, which means less cleaning and fewer opportunities to spread germs and bacteria.
One additional modification to consider is mounting the toilet slightly higher. This can benefit older adults who have difficulty standing from a seated position or anyone with back or knee pain.
For those with mobility issues, or aches and pains, it can be difficult to climb into a traditional bathtub. With a standard tub, you must lift yourself over a tall edge to get in and out, which can put strain on your knees and put you at risk of slipping and falling. This sometimes requires seniors to be dependent on a caregiver or loved one to assist with bathing. Walk-In tubs can be a great solution to this safety concern because they have such a low entry threshold and other essential safety features.
The MTI Basics® Walk-In Tub is designed to support the unique needs of those aging in place. It features practical design elements that easily accommodate the bathing experience for those with mobility limitations. The interior features a comfortable, molded seat, a textured slip-resistant floor, and two well-placed acrylic grab bars. There are several therapeutic features available as well, including Thermaltherapy, Microbubbles, Aromatherapy, and more.
The Lifestyle 5230 Walk-In Bathtub by Hydro Systems is another great option. It offers the therapeutic benefits of a horizontal bathtub in a vertical format. Safety and accessibility are priorities with this model, with features like built-in grab bars and a low step-in height to avoid climbing in and out. It comes with eight, fully directional adjustable PVC jets, and can be customized to include additional jet systems, from Thermal Air to Micro Therapy jets, inviting you to tailor your Walk-In Tub experience to your exact needs.
Robern - Lockable Medicine Cabinet
With Robern’s IQ Digital Lock Box, you can ensure that your valuables are stored safely. This precautionary digital lock box is a smart, secure way to store prescription medications, valuables, and personal items. Featuring three methods of secure entry, as well as remote monitoring on your smartphone, this smart Digital Lock Box offers total control, total safety, total peace of mind.
You can seamlessly integrate the Mounted IQ Digital Lock Box into your existing Robern cabinet with an easy-to-install mount, or the Freestanding model can be placed in any cabinet. Contemporary gray coloring offers inconspicuous storage, while water resistance protects medications and valuables from bathroom humidity.
A smart oven is a great addition to an aging in place kitchen design. Smart ovens today are packed with safety features, like alert systems that notify you or a loved one if your oven has been left on. Many also have smart phone connectivity, letting you know when your food is ready, or showing you a picture of your food while it’s cooking. This allows you to monitor and control your food remotely from a comfortable place, rather than standing for extended periods of time.
With Thermador, you’re able to manage your smart oven remotely through Home Connect®. This functionality allows you to preheat your oven and monitor your food throughout the cooking process directly from your smart device.
It even sends you timely reminders to let you know your appliances are preheated, or that your food has finished cooking. You can also send recipe instructions directly from the app to the appliance, and access chef-curated recipes catered to you. Home Connect® also works with Google Home and Amazon Alexa for hands-free help with your appliance.
Many seniors choose to age in their lifelong homes and familiar neighborhoods instead of moving to an assisted living community because it offers independence, comfort, an emotional connection and so much more. But the reality of aging in place is not without challenges, especially as needs increase and change over time. To take care of yourself safely and successfully as you age in your home, it is crucial to take the proper precautions and address your unique challenges. We hope these product ideas are helpful to you or someone you know who is considering aging in place. To learn more about luxury aging in place solutions, visit a PIRCH showroom near you and speak to a sales consultant.
Marek, K.D., Popejoy, L., Petroski, G., Mehr, D., Rantz, M., & Lin, W.C. (2005). Clinical outcomes of aging in place. Nursing Research, 54(3), 202-211