If you are entering retirement, you are probably thinking about the trips you will take, the hobbies you will finally have time for and spending more time with family.  Most people don’t want to start thinking about moving into a nursing home or care facility.  The best way to ensure that you can stay in your home for as long as possible is to prepare for aging in place. 
If you assess your home as an occupational therapist, you would examine it in terms of Activities of Daily Living, (ADL’s) you can prepare for your changing needs long before you will need them.  Many seniors end up in care facilities or moving in with their adult children, because their current home does not suit their changing needs.
The first room to focus on should be theAccessibleBathroom bathroom. This can be the most dangerous room for seniors.  As you age you may lose full mobility and balance. Wet slippery floors and getting in and out of the tub can be hazardous. 
If you are planning a bathroom remodel now, you can make some changes to the room that will have a big impact later on and help you stay living independently in your own home longer:
                -Widen the doorway to a minimum of 36” to accommodate walkers or wheelchairs.
-Change the handles on doorways and faucets to a lever style, which are easier to turn with limited dexterity.
-Replace bathtubs with an easy step or freedom shower, which you can roll into with a wheelchair.  You can get some units with a molded seat, but if you don’t want a seat now, have the contractor add additional wood backing behind the shower walls, so you could have a wall mounted folding seat installed later.
-Add grab bars at the entrance and back wall of the shower to help keep your balance. You will find a greater selection of designer grab bars available now than there were a few years ago.
                -Install a hand held shower head with a glide bar for adjustable heights to avoid over reaching.
                -Replace older toilets with a higher toilet, so sitting and getting up is easier.
                -Install grab bars beside the toilet. 
Planning ahead for inevitable aging issues will keep you in your home longer and keep you independent long into retirement.
This article was written by the team at Accessibility Professionals – an online resource for accessibility resources and products.