Since COVID hit, this has become a real question. Group living facilities elderly residents have been affected. Not only are our elderly more susceptible to this illness, group living has given this contagious sickness a real foothold. Several of my friends whose parents were contemplating moving to an assisted living facility or any care home have chosen not to.

Most facilities have been quite careful with handling the contagion, cleaning, and limiting or even refusing visits. Smart, but just not the lifestyle being sought.

So, what does this mean? What are the alternatives?

Alternatives depend entirely on your independence comfort level. Let’s make some assumptions, you are slowing down a bit, you worry about getting in and out of the tub or shower, an assist off the water closet and reaching to the upper cabinets or shelves requires a step stool you are uncomfortable on.

A couple of simple fixes, Grab bars are an easy install and can help you navigate tubs, showers, and water closets. Each bar of about 24” can be installed in an hour or so by a carpenter. One or two for shower/tub, one for the water closet should do it.

Upper cabinets or high shelves can be handled a couple of ways. The fix, of course, is to not use them. Move those items up there to lower shelves, or if insufficient room, put them in boxes on shelves in the garage. If you are like me, I do not use those hard to reach items very often.

An Alternative is to get a safety step stool. That is one with handles or side rails. Look up ‘DMI Step Stool with Handel’ or ‘Global Industry Step Stool with Handrail’. Both have a no slip step and legs. These are some of the simple and low-cost steps you can take to increase your stay in your own home.