Aging in place is becoming increasingly popular among today's retirees — after all, there's a lot to be said for staying in your own neighborhood and community among family and friends instead of moving to a retirement community. However, this approach to aging involves making home modifications to create a senior-friendly living environment. Many seniors and their families put a lot of time and work into interior renovations designed to accommodate for limitations in mobility, reflexes, and eyesight that typically come with aging, but often, the only changes to the outdoor living space is a ramp instead of steps to make accessing the home interior easier. Here's what else you can do to make your backyard senior-friendly:
Bright outdoor lighting provides good protection against thieves and other potential home intruders and increases visibility after the sun goes down, making it easier to navigate from the car to the front door when you come home from dinner out or another evening event — but they also cast shadows that may cause slip-and-fall hazards. It is common among seniors to experience a decrease in the ability to see clearly under low light conditions. Adding lighting at the ground level, such as circular solar-powered lights placed on either side of the walkway, provides excellent visibility without casting shadows so that seniors see exactly where they're putting their feet.
Although many seniors enjoy growing vegetables, herbs, and flowers, they may prefer not to have to keep up with a high-maintenance yard. Apply low-maintenance landscaping strategies such as removing fussy plants that require large amounts of water, fertilizer, and pruning. Replace fussy plants with native species that are already acclimated to local climate and soil conditions, install raised beds for ease of cultivation, and replace at least a portion of a large lawn with rock gardens, pavers, easy-care shrubbery, or anything else that doesn't require a lot of upkeep.
All-Season Patio Coverings
The ability to spend time in your own backyard is one of the advantages of choosing to age in place in your own home. An all-season patio covering protects seniors from the hot sun in summer and allows them to enjoy bundling up and relaxing on their patio when it's raining outside. A good patio cover also protects outdoor furniture, fire features, and outdoor kitchens. As an added bonus, patio covers that protect windows from the sun directly beating down on them help keep home interiors cooler in summer.
Contact a supplier for more information about patio covers.