“Getting old ain’t for sissies” is often quoted as a sentiment that reflects many of the realities of aging! The truth is that more and more seniors are striving to make their own lives better by creating a barrier-free home so they can age in place.
Barrier-free living is a phrase that is used to describe a safe and fully accessible home for its occupants so they can safely age in place. It also makes a home more visit-able by friends and family.
So, how do we create a barrier-free home? The first step is to identify the barriers. The most common culprits are:
- Doorways that are not wide enough to accommodate walkers or wheelchairs
- Bathtubs and showers without grab bars, slip-resistant surfaces, easy access, bath chairs and/or sufficient lighting
- Toilets that are too low, without grab bars and not accessible
- Throw rugs
- Stairs (in general) but without handrails, non-slip treads
- Light switches too high to reach
- Furniture placed too close for access
Now that you have an idea where the barriers may be, step two is to take action. Make the adjustments, get the grab bars installed, move the furniture around to make wider paths, and start to make it easier for yourself and others. Reach out to trained professionals in your community to help. But getting started now will help achieve the aging in place goals!
Fritzi Gros-Daillon, MS, CSA, CAPS, UDCP, SHSS
Director, Education and Advocacy, Age Safe America
CEO, Household Guardians Inc.
Fritzi Gros-Daillon is a successful entrepreneur in Senior Move Management, Environmental Consulting and Aging in Place Home Safety and Modification. Named Educator of the Year by NAHB for 2019 and Master Instructor in 2021, she teaches aging in place and universal design courses. Working with Age Safe America, she developed the Senior Home Safety Specialist certification and co-created an online Family Caregiver Essentials program. Her Master’s in Business from Columbia University, combined with CAPS and UDCP, gives her the experience, perspective and expertise to work with multi-discipline professionals and clients of all ages.
Her first book, “Grace and Grit: Insights to Real Life Challenges of Aging for Adult Children and their Parents”, won five national book awards and the Canadian Book Excellence award in 2016. The book offers insight, humor and a deeper understanding of the complexity of roles and decisions for older adults and families considering changes to their homes. She is a public speaker on topics of home safety and aging in place at state and national conferences, radio and podcasts.