Living in old age

Closeup of an elderly woman in a living room.
Picture credit: ©iStock.com/vm

Start thinking at 40, how you want to live when you’re 60? In the middle of life, hardly anyone gives any thought to how they want to live later on. But it’s worth while starting to prepare for your old age and your housing and living conditions as early as possible.

People who look into the subject in good time, have long enough to adapt their current home to future needs, or to re-orient themselves.

The following sites are designed to give you useful hints regarding how you can prepare for living in your own four walls in old age. Many things can be done cheaply and easily. For more major changes, you can often find professional advice and assistance very near you.

A number of practical measures can usually be implemented easily and without any major effort or expense in your own four walls. Go through your daily routine in your head and think about what obstacles you encounter in your home in the course of the day and what causes you problems. Many of the obstacles in your home can be eliminated quickly and cheaply with a bit of skill or the help of a qualified craftsman.

Things you can do on your own …

  • Part with superfluous furnishings and reorganise the rooms.
  • Move furniture around, so that all furnishings and windows are readily accessible.
  • Make sure you have non-slip floor coverings, and fix any rugs in place to eliminate stumbling-blocks.
  • Keep a stable seat at hand for getting your shoes on and off.
  • A non-slip shower stool to sit on makes it easier to shower on your own and minimises the risk of accidents.

For these things, you’ll need help from relatives, friends, neighbours or professionals …

  • Fit wooden blocks under the sofa, armchair or bed to raise them to a seat height of at least 60 cm – that makes it easier to sit down and get up.
  • Fit handrails on both sides on the stairs.
  • Grip handles make it easier to sit down and get up in the bath, and offer extra safety on the toilet.
  • Replace conventional shelves in wall cupboards with glass shelves, so as to get a good view of the upper shelves.

For these things, you’ll need a professional craftsman …

  • Move frequently used power points to an easy-to-reach height of at least 85 cm. That facilitates housework, such as vacuuming.
  • If the available space allows, part of the kitchen worktop can be lowered, and legroom created by removing the bottom cupboards. In that way, you can even sit down to cook.