Aging in Place

Posted at 5:30 AM, Dec 01, 2015
and last updated 2016-07-04 11:55:14-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) -- Living alone can be a challenge for many older adults, especially those with physical issues or limited mobility. Falls are a leading cause of injury and even death for people 65 and older, but most seniors want to stay in their own homes as long as possible. How to keep your loved ones safe at home is this Angie's List report.

For 78-year-old Katie Collins, arthritis changed her life.

"It had become pretty tough to get in and out with the steps. I really didn't want to leave my home," she said.

New handrails were a huge help, but she needed more.  Her bathtub became tough to climb into, so it was replaced with a walk-in shower. Grab bars were also installed.

"Now I'm able to go into the shower. I have two seats in my shower. I can sit down and wash up real good and get up and shower myself, wash my hair, whatever," said Collins.

Angie Hicks, founder of Angie's List, adds: "For many senior citizens, being in their own home as they age can be a real benefit. It can help their well-being, and it also it can be more cost efficient than other housing options, so updating their living space for them can be really important."

"It's real important that you look at it in a holistic way of all the things that could become barriers and meet that," said disability professional John Ausbrooks.

Ausbrooks takes pride in providing products and services so older people can  lead an independent lifestyle.

He says scooters, ramps and lift chairs can be life altering, like for one man he remember who  hadn't seen his basement in years.

"The guy came down the stairs and he just began to weep because memories came flooding back to him. So it was a very moving experience – still is, many years later – to see the guy experience the memories that he had probably thought he was never going to see again," said Ausbrooks.

Collins says she understands that feeling.

"I'm just happy, honey, because I never had anything like that before. And it's so nice and convenient," said Collins. "I don't have to worry about falling anymore because everything is just convenient, and I'm grateful!"

When modifying a home for safety, work with a Certified "Aging in Place" Specialist who has specific training in home modifications for the elderly. If cost is an issue, you can contact your local agency on aging, which may have programs to help.

Remember you can catch the latest Angie's List report every Tuesday morning on WTXL Sunrise.