Some low-cost tips that may help seniors live independently at home for longer periods of time

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There are many low-cost things that can be done to help seniors live independently their homes for longer periods of time.

Some tips, from the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing and AARP:

—Wear nonslip shoes, not slippers, in the house.

—Avoid area rugs or use double-sided tape to hold them in place.

—If you must climb, use a sturdy step stool with a hand rail, not a chair.

—Place everyday items in easy-to-reach places, including cooking items.

—Sit to cook if possible. Keep the microwave low enough to reach.

—Use a raised toilet seat, which can add 2 inches to 5 inches without replacing the toilet.

—Place nonskid safety strips in the tub, and use a tub bench or shower chair.

—Install grab bars in the bathroom or, if that's not possible, a safety rail can be clamped onto the side of the tub.

—Railings on both sides make stairs easier.

—Look for tools such as a button hook/zip pull or a "reacher" that grabs hard-to-reach items.

—Carry a portable or cellphone around the house, in case of a fall or other emergency.

—Consider a home assessment from an occupational therapist, who can tailor suggestions to your functional ability.

—When remodeling, AARP suggests consulting a Certified Aging in Place Specialist, a program of the National Association of Home Builders that designates contractors, remodelers and others who are trained in modifying homes for the elderly.

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Online:

Capable project: http://nursing.jhu.edu/faculty_research/research/projects/capable

Organizations: Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing and AARP, National Association of Home Builders

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