Despite the boom of senior living facilities, nine out of 10 seniors are striving to age in place and continue living in their homes in the next 10 years. A large percentage of them choose aging in place because they like where they live.
Others like having family close by, and the rest don’t like the hassle that comes with moving. Still, even as they continue to live at home, their needs change in various ways as they get older.
If you have a senior loved one, understand that apart from their nutritional needs, a lot of other things need to change, like the way they move around the house. They may not have the strength to climb up and down the stairs like they used to or reach the top kitchen cabinets. Aging adults need convenience, optimal accessibility, and, most importantly, safety to avoid slip and fall accidents that will lead to injuries.
This makes optimizing their home a top priority to ensure they are as comfortable as possible. For this reason, we have gathered some of the most imperative home modifications and adjustments you can make for them to age in place independently.
1. Secure and Convenient Entryways and Exterior
One of the most important aging in place home modifications you should make involves building ramps in the entry and exit ways. These are not just convenient for wheelchair access.
They eliminate the need to navigate steps and will help your loved one maintain balance. Ensure that there is a similar surface from every room to make movement easier for them.
Apart from building ramps, it’s imperative that you also add handrails or grab bars for seniors with mobility, strength, or balance issues. They will make sitting or standing a whole lot easier. Install some in the bathroom, bathtub, or shower, and look for strong bars that can bear enough weight without giving way.
If they have mobility issues, you can also install grab rails next to their bed to help them get out of bed. Alternatively, you can get a hospital bed for them instead, so they can have adjustment capabilities. Check out Suddenly Senior for hospital bed rentals and see whether it’ll be suitable for your loved one.
Additionally, you need to have wider doors or entryways to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers. Depending on your loved one’s home, you can go the extra mile and install a canopy or a roof at the main entrance to protect them from inclement weather. These additions will increase safety and prevent slip and fall accidents.
2. A Kitchen With Accessibility
The kitchen poses a number of challenges and sometimes even hazards for senior aging in place, making it one of the most important areas of a home to modify. The most important aspect is making everything easily accessible, like installing an adjustable height sink and pull-out shelves or cutting boards.
You need to have multi-level countertops and ensure they have rounded corners. This will accommodate your loved one when they want to prepare the meals standing or sitting down.
If possible, ensure the cooktop control is easily accessible at the front and that the faucets are anti-scald and touchless. Alternatively, you can replace twist faucet handles with levers.
3. Safeguard the Bathrooms
The bathroom is arguably the most dangerous room in your loved one’s house. This is where most accidents, especially slips-and-falls. Apart from installing grab bars, it’s important that you replace the overhead shower with a handheld model.
You can also move the bathtub and shower controls to an accessible place near the entrance. Also, install anti-scald and pressure balanced valves for safe showers. In addition to this, raise the toilet or add an attachment that is specifically designed for seniors or install slow-close or non-slam toilet lids.
4. Ensure the Stairs Are Safer
If your loved one happens to live in a house with stairs, modify and make them workable. For starters, it’s advisable to have a carpet on the stairs and ensure it is secured throughout and no more than half an inch pile. You can opt for a non-slip material like vinyl instead and install sturdy handrails on both sides of the stairway.
This is essential for aging in place regardless of whether your loved one needs it now or not. Depending on the make of the stairs, you can also make them less steep and make it easier for your loved one to climb up and down.
5. Laundry Room and Storage Security
If your loved one is living independently and can still manage the chores by themselves, it’s essential for you to make the laundry room as safe as the kitchen. You need to make everything accessible, from the cleaning items to the appliance controls. It would be a lot more convenient if the laundry room was on the main floor.
If they have a front loading washing machine and dryer, place them on a platform, so your loved one doesn’t have to bend down while loading the laundry. The folding table should be wide enough and easy for them to reach, which also goes for storage spaces. Open shelving is a much more hassle-free storage option than having drawers that they have to pull.
6. Non-Slip Flooring
Every year, millions of elders aged 65 and over have fall accidents, some of which results in fatalities. This makes it imperative for you to reduce slipping and falling by installing non-slip flooring in their home. There are numerous materials you can use, like non-slip vinyl or rubber flooring.
You can also install non-slip rugs and use non-slip bath mats in all sections of the house necessary. Make sure that all electrical cords in any other items they can trip over are secured in place.
Get them non-slip sprays for their tub and shower and check the American Disabilities Act for guidelines to determine the best or safest flooring type for your loved one.
7. Improve Lighting
Lighting can make all the difference when it comes to creating a safe environment for seniors, and installing recessed lights on a dimmer switch can go a long way. They’ll be able to keep lights low during the night in case they need to see when they wake up to use the restroom.
You can also install lights with motion sensors that automatically turn on when they enter the room. Additionally, you can add bathroom heat lamps to provide warmth for your loved one when they take a shower or use the bathroom.
Best Aging in Place Modifications
These are some of the best aging in place modifications you can make for your senior loved one. They will make things convenient and safer, and you don’t have to worry about them having a hard time or getting into an accident.
Beyond this, please check out our website for valuable information on how to handle family and relationships and health and fitness for your loved one.