A recent study showed that there are currently 53 million Americans living with some type of disability. The most common disability, however, pertains to limited mobility. Due to needing mobility assistance, roughly 6.8 million people in the United States are using assistive devices such as wheelchair lifts for home, vans, and other types of vehicles. Handicap door opener buttons are also a type of assistive device, as are bathroom accessibility products such as grab bars.
Most older adults want to live in their own homes for as long as possible. The American Association of Retired Persons as well as the National Conference of State Legislatures report that this is the case for 90% of the individuals over 65 that they surveyed. Since seniors will comprise about 20% of the United States’ population by 2030, which means there will be a considerable number of individuals that may be planning to age-in-place.
In order to make aging-in-place safer as well as more comfortable and convenient, many homeowners are having additions and/or renovations made to their houses. HomeAdvisor’s “2016 Aging in Place Report” showed that home service professionals have reported receiving requests for projects of this nature. While they’ve been hired to do other types of jobs, these are the most common projects:
- Installing grab bars: 71%
- Adding entryway wheelchair ramps: 54%
Grab bars alone can keep people from falling, particularly when they’re climbing porch stairs or taking a shower or bath. It’s been shown that people sustain injuries in the bathroom quite often. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that this occurs with almost 235,000 people every year.
A significant number of senior citizens experience injuries due to a fall every year, and 50% of these occur at home. As a result, older adults are treated in the emergency room every 11 seconds, which amounts to more than 2 million visits on an annual basis.
In order to assist individuals with disabilities and older adults with aging-in-place, it’s important to have assistive devices in the home. Whether this means installing handicap door opener buttons, bathroom grab bars, or other assistive devices, it’s important to ensure that these are installed follow the Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility standards.