Seniors that want to age in place should plan ahead for any possible medical issues that may make it challenging for them to stay in their home. By making their homes as accessible as possible now seniors will be able to stay in their homes longer.
With in-home care and some accessibility upgrades many seniors will be able to live in their own homes as they age even if they have mobility challenges. In-home care can help seniors who have vision problems, hearing problems, or other medical conditions live safely at home. Here are a few things to review around the home.
Make sure that doorways are wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair, walker, or cane. Also check to make sure that the interior doors to rooms and bathrooms are wide enough. Install handrails on both sides of entryways to provide support while entering or exiting the home. And consider replace any steps with ramps to eliminate tripping hazards and allow easy wheelchair access.
Replace high-pile carpets or area rugs with low-pile options to prevent tripping. Ensure that flooring is even and free of loose tiles or floorboards. It’s also a good idea to coat bathroom and kitchen floors with anti-slip products.
Lighting upgrades can make a big difference in accessibility. Install brighter lights, especially in hallways, staircases, and common areas. Consider motion-activated lights to illuminate paths at night and LED lights along stairways and hallways.
Install grab bars in the shower and around the toilet for added stability. Replace the traditional bathtub with a walk-in shower for easier access. Consider a raised toilet seat to make sitting down and getting up easier. Seniors should also think about installing an automatic faucet that turns on when a senior puts their hand under the faucet and turns off automatically.
Lower countertops and cabinets to allow for easier access and reduced strain. Install pull-out shelves or drawers to eliminate the need for reaching into deep cabinets. Also install lever-style faucet handles, which are easier to operate.
Make sure the bed has a good firm mattress. Ensure that the bed is at an appropriate height to make getting in and out easier. Install bed rails to provide support while getting in and out of bed. If the home is a two-story home it’s a good idea to have a room on the first floor that can be turned into a bedroom if the stairs become too much of a problem.
If stairs are unavoidable, consider installing a stair lift. Ensure that handrails are secure and extend the full length of the staircase. Make sure there are no obstructions on the stairs like stair runners or carpet holders. Install lighting on each step and put anti-slip mats on each step.
Make doorways wider to accommodate wheelchairs or walkers. Remove clutter to create clear pathways throughout the home.