Wow, has breaking an ankle made me think! I'm 68, spouse 76 and I just realized if something major happens we can't stay in this house unless we get help! We are not prepared!
We re-modeled the bathrooms and didn't put in grab bars. Our bathroom doors will barely accommodate the walker (and my poor husband will have to fix all the nicks and dings). We had to buy a shower seat and shower head with hose - but still, the shower seat slides around and I had trouble getting in and out, with nothing to hang on to. I can't go down the front step without sitting down and sliding - and its 40 degrees out.
If you are over 50 and plan to stay in your house - prepare now!

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Another thing, make sure your vehicle is user friendly.

I have an interesting situation with my parents.... Mom can no longer climb up into my Jeep, so if I take her anywhere I need to use my parents old Oldsmobile sedan.... Dad has major issues getting in and out of that car, but can easily climb up into my vehicle. I feel like I need to clone myself if I need to take both of them somewhere :P

Love my SUV, I have some back issues and this vehicle is great... the seat is like sitting at a dining room table which is better for your back, plus there is lumbar support... and the cargo bay for groceries or placing my Dad's rolling walker you just reach straight in for the bags/walker instead of bending down into a trunk and lifting up and over the lip of the trunk, etc. which can re-hurt your back.

My sig other has major back issues and he always drove a car where he had to fold himself up to get in and out.... he liked my vehicle so much he bought one for himself as it never gave him any back problems.

AmyGrace, how true that is to plan ahead. I see how my parents struggle in their own single family home, especially the stairs. Any suggestion of putting in a chair lift is out of the question, that's for old people.... my parents are in their mid-90's.... {sigh]

The only thing my parents did was to add grab bars in their bathtub shower. That's it, nothing else. My parents could easily afford to remodel that bathroom and take out that tub and put in a walk-in shower. I have that on my list of things to do for my own house.

How I wish my parents would put a grab bar at the door that goes into the house from the garage... that one tall step into the house can cause my Dad to start falling backwards. Nope, I wouldn't dare have someone install it for them. At least on my own house I now have a level door handle which makes it so much easier to open that door, especially when carrying packages :)

Couple years ago I had new windows installed, oh my gosh, you could almost open these windows with one finger... the old 25 year old windows were so very difficult to open and the screens a nightmare to get in and out. As we age we don't have the strength to open old windows, or we have arthritic hands.

There is a way of building called universal design which incorporates design elements to make homes more accessible for all ages and abilities. It is beyond me why new homes are still being built with absolutely no regard for accessibility, with narrow doors and halls and difficult entryways. (My nephew delivers furniture and it is amazing how many times appliances and furniture won;t even fit into some new homes)
As for grab bars, when I had to install them for my dad after hip surgery I was only 40 but I discovered how helpful they can be! I think every bathroom should have them regardless of the age of the occupants. And I agree, we should be setting aside money now to make necessary changes, and if we are planning upgrades to our homes we should be incorporating accessible design.

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