Ageing and living gracefully
Ageing and living gracefully: How to adjust your home to suit your needs
Age Concern would like to thank Denise Beresford who wrote the original article from which this text is derived.
You have spent your life building up your home so it’s comfortable and suits you, but as you age, your ability to cope in your home can be reduced. We have some suggestions for you to think about which could help.
Downsize Your Home
This can be a heart-wrenching decision. You have probably been in your home for a long time, brought up a family there, and spent your life with your partner. Contemplating leaving a nice three-bed semi for a one bedroomed bungalow is a difficult decision to make but it does have advantages. A smaller property is cheaper to run, will require less furniture, and be easier to get around – particularly if there are no stairs. There may also be financial benefits if you move to a cheaper property.
Aids and adaptations
There are quite a number of adaptations you can make and equipment you can use to make life easier. It’s a case of deciding which will work best for your needs. It is also not necessary to make all the changes at once. You can adapt your home as your needs change.
Before making decisions about changes, it is a good idea to contact your local council for a Care Needs Assessment. A Social Worker or Occupational Therapist will visit you to assess equipment, adaptations, care, and additional support you need to live at home. Small items of specialist equipment recommended by the assessment team are often provided free of charge by the local authority (walking frames, raised toilet seats, etc.). For costlier items you may qualify for a Disabled Facilities Grant.
There are also many simple aids available to help you in the kitchen such as a kettle tipper, one handed chopping boards, and cupboards with pull out shelves. For assistance with personal hygiene, bathroom equipment includes a bath lift, a level access shower, shower seats, and toilet frames. There are also aids and devices for specific issues and disabilities such as failing eyesight, impaired hearing, and arthritis. All of the daily living tasks you now find difficult can be made easier with some kind of aid such as a gripper to help put on and pull up socks, a jar opener, or a helping hand grabbing device for picking things off the floor. Many of these are available via Age Concern Liverpool & Sefton from a catalogue of thousands of daily living aids.
Safety around the home in general is also an important consideration. If you live alone, you need a quick and easy way to inform someone if you have a fall or injure yourself. The obvious is a mobile phone that you keep close to hand at all times, but you might consider a personal monitor that is connected to a call centre or to a relative. Once again, either Sefton Council or Age Concern can help you with finding a personal alarm.
Help and assistance when you grow older comes in many forms. The more you take advantage of what is available, the easier you will find it to grow old safely and gracefully. Give Age Concern Liverpool & Sefton a call on 01704 542 993 for more help and advice.