What 2 Knee Surgeries Taught Us About Aging In Place Return to Articles
Photo Credit: Ellis Spencer returning to volleyball after her knee surgery.
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Two athletes. Two knee surgeries, within two years. A little over a year ago, my husband had a full knee replacement. He needed to repair a prior injury that occurred when he played basketball overseas. Last month our daughter tore her ACL during a volleyball tournament. Although we should have learned from my husband’s experience, we didn’t put any thought into prepping our home for her recovery.
Photo Credit: Ivan Samkov. Make sure you can reach everything you need on a nearby table.
We did the obvious things like removing trip hazards such as area rugs, but we could have done more. This list provided by the US National Library of Medicine would have been really helpful to make sure our house was ready when she returned home from the hospital.
Avoid trip hazards by removing cords or rugs
If possible, use a bed that is on main floor
Make sure you have access to a bathroom or portable commode on the same floor
Keep your phone nearby along with emergency contacts
Photo Credit: Marcus Aurelius. Ensure your workspaces in your kitchen have different work heights, with at least on space that can be used while seated.
It was eye opening to see our athletic teenager struggle with the 4” threshold in her shower. If the shower curb was an obstacle for her, how would someone with limited mobility navigate the step up? While we are a couple of decades away from aging in place, this experience made us take a closer look at what modifications we could do now to make our home safer for people of all ages and abilities. Pat Mertz Esswein’s article in Kiplinger provides a room-by-room breakdown, suggesting various ways you can make your home more age-friendly. It’s definitely premature for us to think about installing a chair lift, but I was happy to learn we have already made some of the recommended changes such as purchasing a front-loading washer/ dryer or replacing our electrical switches from toggle to rocker plates.
Make sure your doorways are 36 inches wide
Install comfort height toilets
Replace doorknobs with lever style handles
Make sure storage in your kitchen, bath or closet has multilevel shelving that are accessible whether you sit or stand
Photo Credit: Cottonbro. Plan ahead for how you mill manage maintenance and care for your home and yourself.
Whether you are like us who are gradually preparing for the future or if you are preparing to age in place, keep in mind some of things that are often overlooked. Kiplinger had an additional article by Mary Kane where she cautioned about getting “ stuck in place .” This is when you are living in your home, but you aren’t aging well due to isolation or the inability to make the necessary home improvements. Other things to consider would be:
Ongoing home repairs and maintenance
Long term care costs including home health care
Transportation to run errands or go to medical appointments
Socialization and having a network of family, friends and neighbors
RezDox RULS (Residential Useful Life Score) provides peace of mind letting you and your loved ones know when an appliance or system may need to be repaired or replaced.
As the responsibilities for your home's maintenance shifts to your children, make it easier for them to understand what projects were already completed. Make sure they can easily find receipts or invoices from recent work so they can identify the contractors you hired. If an emergency does occur, your loved ones can rehire the people you trust and who are already familiar with your home. RezDox makes it easy for you to share your home's history because everything is conveniently located in cloud, which means your family can help with your home maintenance at anytime from anyplace.
While our experience has been limited to sports injuries, it's never too early to plan ahead for your renovations or to start sharing your home's information with loved ones.