With the sometimes high costs of retirement home living, it makes sense that more and more seniors are choosing to stay in their own homes. But, in order to make this possible, you must prepare in advance for potential changes in mobility and/or declining health. 

Here are some things you can do to help you stay independent and in your home for as long as you can. 

  • Increase lighting. Install light switches at the top and bottom of staircases, nightlights in hallways and in the bathroom. 
  • Put non-slip surfaces in the shower and bathtub. Consider getting a bath chair and a handheld showerhead to enable you to sit down while bathing. Consider a grab bar in the shower/bathtub and near the toilet. If installing a grab bar, make sure it is well anchored.    
  • Install lower shelves and rearrange cupboards and panties so that frequently used items are easy to reach. 
  • Get rid of tripping hazards like rugs, cords, and clutter. 
  • Reduce or eliminate stairs. This may require renovations, relocation, or simply rearranging rooms. For example, if your bedroom and bathroom are on separate floors, consider moving your bedroom to the same floor. 
  • Install railings on any outdoor steps or decks. 
  • Put traction or non-slip surfaces on steps and stairs, indoor and out. 
  • Program house/cell phones with clearly labelled emergency contact numbers. 
  • Consider hiring a cleaning service
  • Make arrangements for lawn care and snow removal well in advance so you aren’t scrambling with the change in seasons. 
  • Have a list of accessible community resources and support programs at the ready. Things like the Seniors Guide to Navigating Community Resources can help seniors stay in their homes longer by connecting them with the tools they need.

If it is your sincere hope, and goal, to stay in your home, planning is critical. By taking action early, you can ensure that your house is as safe and accessible as possible. Moving does not have to be inevitable!