When you first purchase your home, your needs are very different than when you approach your golden years. If you plan on staying in this house, you’ll find that making small changes to your home can be quite beneficial for your own comfort and safety.
The following is a list of tips on how to make your own home more old-age friendly so that you can live there happily in later years:
1. Install Brighter Lighting
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of every three seniors over the age of 65 slip and fall each year. In order to help prevent these falls, or at least decrease them, installing brighter lights is an excellent option. This may require installing new light fixtures, additional fixtures, and/or stronger bulbs. Don’t forget to do the same in the exterior space of your home.
As far as what areas of the home need the most lighting, focus on halls, bathrooms, the kitchen, and stairs.
2. Take a Look at Your Flooring
Another area that can cause slips and falls is flooring.
- Do you have any uneven flooring?
- Do you have slippery surfaces when dry and/or wet?
- Is the carpet coming up or buckling in any areas?
If so, then you will want to ensure that each of these issues is addressed. You can always add non-slip mats to areas, treads to stairs for added traction, and anti-slip coatings. It’s also a good idea to wear shoes or slippers with a good tread in the house rather than just socks.
3. Take Extra Safety Steps in the Bathroom
The bathroom tends to be a very dangerous place for seniors if the proper safety steps aren’t taken. There are a number of things you can do in this room of your house to ensure your safety. These include the following:
- Install grab rails in the shower to hang on to
- Use a stool or chair in the shower
- Retrofit your bathtub so you can walk right in without having to step up and over the tub wall
- Make sure the lights are nice and bright
- Install a hand-held shower head which makes it easy to wash while sitting on a stool
- Make sure the surface of the bath/shower has an anti-slip mat or coating on it
- Install an anti-scalding device that prevents the person from turning up the water too high and burning themselves
- Make sure the bath mat you step onto after leaving the bath/shower has an anti-slip backing so it doesn’t move around
- Install a grab rail next to the toilet so you can sit and stand with ease
- Install a taller toilet so you don’t have to bend as low
4. Replace Exterior Stairs with Ramps
If your home has exterior stairs leading to your front and/or back door, you may want to consider installing a ramp instead. The ramp should feature a non-slip tread or mat that provides plenty of traction. This would also be ideal for those who use a wheelchair to get around.
5. Make Sure All Exterior Walk Paths Are Salted in the Winter
For those who live in a city or town that experiences winters with snow and ice, you will want to keep a bucket of salt handy right at your doorway. You can sprinkle the surface with salt before a storm hits in order to prevent the ice from building, and then after the storm finishes.
6. Move Items Off High Shelves
This is also a good time to remove items off the top shelf that you use on a regular basis. You don’t need to be reaching and climbing up and down a stool each time you need the item. This just takes a bit of reorganising on your part.
7. Consider Moving Your Master Bedroom
If your master bedroom is located on the upper floor in your house, you may want to consider relocating it to the main floor and close to a bathroom. This can make getting around much easier, without having to deal with the stairs on a daily basis.
8. Install Larger, Easy to Grab Handles
This is a tip that can be used all through the house. Any place you have a door, cupboard, or drawer handle you can replace it with hardware that is large and easy for you to grip.
A Number of Small Changes Make Big Differences
By making these small changes you will find the effects to be quite impacting, which will allow you to live more comfortably and safely in your home.
Written by Kevin Norris
Kevin has always enjoyed helping others. While working for Ease of Mobility, he has enjoyed creating living solutions for the elderly and those with mobility issues like himself. Ease of Mobility is a caring company that provides mobility aids such as wheelchairs, mobility scooters, and more. When Kevin isn’t using his experience with a wheelchair to help clients, he is playing basketball or cooking.
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