6 On Your Side Answers: Upgrades for retirees

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – More than three-quarters of Americans age 50 or older want to retire in their current home, according to a recent AARP survey.

If those are your plans as well, here are some practical, safety-conscious upgrades to consider:

Curbless Showers

As we age, navigating can be – literally – a balancing act. About 1 in 4 people over age 65 suffer a fall each year.

One reason you see a lot of advertisements for curbless showers – they’re more open than a conventional shower.

There is no lip to step or trip over, and the flood slopes slightly toward the drain.

For a slippery-when-wet bathroom, the appeal of this renovation is obvious. The price varies from as low as $1,300 to as high as $7,000, depending on size, design, materials and local labor costs.

Functional Kitchen

You shouldn’t need to strain to use or put away everyday items, particularly in the kitchen.

A few ideas would be to add a lazy Susan to keep things organized, compact and easy to grab; use dowels or racks to store cookware instead of stacking them, plus to avoid moving heavy pots and pans.

Well-mounted wall hooks make things easier to reach.

Slide-out shelving is more accessible than cabinets that require you to crouch down.

Door Handles

Door knobs – they may look like a simple aesthetic choice at first glance, but they also can matter a lot when you’re aging.

Traditional door knobs require tight grasping and a twisting motion, presenting a challenge for people with arthritis or poor balance.

Lever door handles are easier to grip, they function more simply, and require you open a door with the weight of your hand.

What’s more, stylish levers update the look of your home. Thsi is why you rarely, if ever, see traditional door knobs in public buildings – because they don’t meet the accessibility requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Stair Lift

The health risks of falling are hard to overstate.

A stair lift may be a solution, here. The cost ranges a good deal – adding a stair lift can run from $2,000 with used equipment, to over $10,000.

Ramps & Railings

Now, where changes in height are minimal,. one or two steps can be replaced with ramps or improved with a railing.

Longer staircases make it more difficult.

So, add solid railings on each side of the staircase and anti-slip strips on stair edges or even bright lighting may help reduce slips and falls.

These tips can help with the aging process for those wanting to remain in their homes – anything you can do to reduce your risk and dependence on others is worth considering.

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