Ask a Pro: How to suggest grab bars?

Q:  My husband won’t accept that he’s getting older and needs more support like grab bars and railings in certain places.  How do you suggest I approach this?

A:  Few of us accept aging with grace.  Many feel their aging spouse or parent need help in various forms, but in the process of trying to suggest this they make their spouse or parent feel less capable of being independent.  I have two lines of discussion to suggest on this topic.  

  1. If you and your spouse are of similar ages you may also benefit from some additional support devices in the home.  So, don’t make this discussion about him, make it about you. 
  2. For adult children, frame the discussion in terms of making some improvements that’ll help your parents stay in their home, together and independent, longer. 

Nobody wants to leave their home, so home modifications that delay this become a positive discussion, not a negative one.