Adapting our homes according to our needs over time should not be unusual. However, people sometimes do not know what to do in order to make their house comfortable again after they enter a certain age. Getting older often requires making changes in our environment to stay healthy and safe as much as possible. So, if you or your parents have reached your golden age, it may be time for some adjustments. Here are seven tips to make your home elderly-friendly and safe for all its residents.
1. Minimize the risk of falls
Tripping and falling is, unfortunately, a common scenario with the elderly. Their sight and mobility are often no longer great, and accidents can happen. Nevertheless, there are a couple of ways that can help you make your home a lot safer place and ensure the risk of falling is down to a minimum. Here’s what you can do:
- Installing grab bars and handrails in all the critical spots – for instance, in the bathroom, at the entrance of the house, in the hallway, etc. Evaluate the situation in your home to locate the most critical spots that need secure grab bars;
- Securing the stairs – the stairs are probably the riskiest part of every house or building, not only for older people. Still, you can make them safer by adding handrails, appropriate stair covers, more lights, et cetera.
- Removing the rugs – unless they are secured to the floor, carpets present a considerable risk of tripping and falling. You’ve got three options at this point. You can remove them entirely, secure them well to the floor, or simply cover the entire floor with carpeting.
2. Improve the lighting
If your house has enough natural light, daytime won’t be a problem. However, the night is a very risky time for older people if they need to get up to go to the kitchen or bathroom. Make your home elderly-friendly by adding more lights to all the critical locations such as entryways, stairs, hallways, etc. If necessary, place some closer to the floor. That way, you can easily see your way around the house.
3. Make the bathroom as safe as possible
The place where most of the accidents happen is the bathroom, due to the slippery floors, tiles, etc. That’s why a bathroom remodel should be one of the improvements to include in this project. Make it safer by installing more grab bars and adding lights and a non-slip mat. Also, getting in and out of the bath is very tricky, so it is better to replace the bathtub with a simple walk-in shower. Add a bench or a set you can easily fold, and you will have the safest possible option when it comes to taking a shower.
4. Declutter the house
Getting around and finding items around the house should be as simple as possible. For this reason, it is essential to declutter the home to make it elderly-friendly. Decluttering is not only taking care of the mess; it’s about removing the potential walking obstacles. Finally, finding or reaching personal items will be much easier if there are not too many items in cabinets, shelves, etc. That’s why decluttering is essential in maintaining a home with elderly residents.
It may be difficult to remember where everything is at an older age, even after a thorough decluttering session. For this reason, you should consider labeling cupboards and containers. That is a great way to make your home elderly-friendly. For instance, you can use sticky labels, a sharpie, or colorful markers to write what’s where and make sure your home is organized and easily accessible.
Removing as many unnecessary items as possible will be very helpful if you ever decide to downsize. Packing will be a lot simpler and faster, but you’ll also enjoy various benefits such as reduced moving and housing expenses.
6. Replacing doorknobs
Modern doorknobs look all fancy and elegant, yet most are challenging to open, especially if you do not have a powerful grip. This is a common problem in homes with elderly residents, especially the ones that suffer from arthritis. Make sure doors are easy to open and that it’s easy to grab doorknobs for additional safety.
7. Accessible kitchen
The room where we spend most of our time is the kitchen. Preparing and eating meals should be simple and safe for the elderly, so make sure you make all the necessary adjustments. Here are some tips on making your kitchen elderly-friendly:
- Upgrade lighting – allow more natural light and add LED lights both outside and inside the cabinets;
- Use appropriate pull knobs that will make it easier for people with arthritis;
- Pick contrasting colors – the countertop should be in different colors than the cabinets, making it easier to spot small utensils, spillage, dirt, etc.;
- Make sure buttons on appliances are clearly visible – modern appliances often come with touch-screen functions and sensors, which can be confusing for the seniors;
- Invest in a good-quality smoke alarm – safety should e a top priority in each home, especially in those elderly residents occupy.
Switching to a more elderly-friendly home
Sometimes, moving is a much better option. If there are too many improvements you need to make, perhaps switching to a more elderly-friendly home would be more cost-efficient. If you plan to relocate to a more senior-friendly home, it’s good to have professionals in your corner to help you every step of the way. Moving experts who have experience with moving seniors will be more careful and make the relocation as safe and smooth as possible. And if they need help planning, preparing, or packing for the move, their children and relatives should be ready and waiting to give them a helping hand during the process.
It’s not always easy to see your loved ones age and deal with more health issues than before. However, there are many ways to make them more comfortable and safer and ensure they actually enjoy spending time in their home. Hopefully, these tips will help you make your home elderly-friendly and provide maximum safety for your loved ones.