Make Your Parents’ Home Safer As They Age
7 Home Modifications for Seniors
The population is aging rapidly. Research shows that the majority of older Americans intend to remain in their current homes for as long as possible, but most of our homes are designed and constructed for young and mobile families. They are not necessarily suited to accommodate those who aged.
Thanks to advances in technology and wider availability of services, it is now easier than ever to create a senior-friendly home. Modifications and adaptations can enhance safety and promote lasting independence for our beloved family members.
INSTALL A RAMP
Having a step-free entrance at ground level is safer for older adults, especially for those who might be unsteady on their feet, or use a wheelchair or walker. Installing a ramp is one of the most common home modifications and it is well worth the cost.
INSTALL GRAB BARS
This is another important – and most common – home modification: installing grab bars or railings in high-risk areas such as bathrooms and bedrooms. They are excellent installations as they provide anyone with mobility issues additional support and prevent slips and injuries. Make sure your grab bar holds up to 250lbs. They don’t cost the earth and you can install it yourself. Install it securely by screwing it into wall studs. If you would like to have a professional do this for you, try a FixlersPro!
The elderly may find their countertops and cabinetry too high, especially if they are in a wheelchair. This is why we might need to find a professional to come in and adjust the counter height and lower the sink for us, in order to allow for safer and easier access. Moving appliances around may not be enough. Sometimes we just need to replace them. For example, a side-opening oven is much safer than one with a swing door. Or if the stove’s controls are located on the top, then buy one with controls on the front.
Bathrooms can be dangerous places for our elderly family members. Replace the bathtub with a walk-in shower, which provides an easier and safer entry and exit. If that’s not an option for you financially, there are less expensive ways to prevent slips and falls in the bathtub. You can add a grab bar to the tub, or install safety strips. You can also purchase a bathtub transfer bench/chair, which enables seniors to sit safely on the bench while getting into the tub. Getting into the tub while seated greatly reduces the risk of dangerous slips and falls. These benches also help them get out of the tub safely and unassisted.
Ideally, the laundry room should be on the main floor, close to the bedroom and the bathroom, because these are the two rooms where we get changed and where we store our clean laundry items. The washer and dryer should also ideally be front-loading, and be raised on platforms or stacked. Open shelves in closets are better than drawers, and installing double bars in closets – one low and one high allows items to be reached from both a seated and a standing position.
Is your carpet getting old and shaggy? Time to replace them! Do you have a wooden or tiled floor? Hardwood, tile, laminate, and vinyl floors are smooth and beautiful, and while they are easier for wheelchair users, they tend to be more slippery than carpeting. Make sure you put some rugs on these floors and tape them down securely to prevent fall injuries.
UPGRADE YOUR SMART HOME TECHNOLOGY
Home technology like medical alerts, home security, remote monitoring, or remote communication systems is extremely important and beneficial for seniors at home. Wearable technology like watches, necklaces, and shoe insoles can monitor your loved ones’ movement inside their home. You can fit a home monitoring system with different sensors in which you can monitor your senior members from your smartphone. For example, you can have a sensor on the medicine cabinet door so that you’ll know if your mom takes her medicine. You can have heat sensors installed on the stove, and door sensors put in for entryways. Aging-in-place home monitoring systems tend to cost around $250 for the system and have a monthly monitoring fee of around $20-$40.
SAFER AND BETTER
The best action to take is to consider all of the areas at home that present the most trouble and concern for the individuals. What’s best for your parents might not be the best for mine. If there are potential tripping or falling hazards, eliminate or modify them immediately. Grant yourself and your loved ones peace of mind by taking a proactive approach to create a senior-friendly home.
And as always, if you need a professional to help with any home modifications, find your local FixlersPro today at www.fixlers.com or call us at 0888-683-8483