While some seniors choose to stay in senior living communities, most prefer to live in their own homes. They believe this is a better choice because it allows them to be as independent as possible and feel much more comfortable. But most homes aren’t designed to fit older people’s needs. Therefore, it’s imperative to make the necessary modifications and create a senior-friendly home that enhances safety.
As people age, the risk of slip-and-fall accidents increases, so it’s essential to eliminate any potential hazards. Home renovations are indeed a significant investment, but in the long term, they are more affordable than staying at a nursing home. In this article, we’ll look at different senior-friendly upgrades to make your home as comfortable and safe as possible.
You may find it difficult to let go of some items in your home, but they can quickly pile up, creating an unsightly look. Having clutter in your living space increases the risk of tripping hazards. Therefore, before making any significant improvements, start with eliminating clutter.
Arrange your home in a free-flowing and elegant layout to ensure there’s good traffic flow. You should also organize loose cables and cords, so they don’t become a potential hazard. You can attach them to walls with clips or place them behind your furniture.
When your home is well-lit, safety is no longer a concern. As you age, your eyesight starts failing; consequently, a dark room can lead to bumps and falls. To avoid this, it’s essential to ensure that there’s enough lighting across your home in areas like the entryway, staircase, hallway, and rooms.
During the day, ensure natural light can get into your home. If it is lacking, you can get creative and add reflective mirrors or skylights, for example. Or, if this is possible, you can enlarge the windows. Another alternative is to add lighter window treatments. You can contact an electrician to make the necessary modifications like adding good ambient lighting, strip lights across your staircase and motion sensor lights.
Make your entryway accessible
Your home’s entryway is a high-traffic area, so it’s critical to increase ease of movement. When you’re at home, you’ll need to go out and bask or simply take a walk. Even if big houses have different entryways, the main entrance is common in all living spaces.
A practical idea is to install a ramp at your home’s main entrance to protect yourself from falls as you walk in and out. This modification is especially ideal for seniors using a wheelchair, stroller or wheeled luggage.
Update the flooring
Regardless of your age, the bathroom is a high-risk area in homes and can be especially hazardous for seniors. Younger people have more balance, so they can hold themselves if they slip. While they may only sprain an ankle, the health implications can be more severe for seniors, as they could hurt their spines, leading to further complications.
Different anti-flooring solutions are available, such as bamboo, vinyl, or ceramic tiles. Another idea is to add non-slip pads in your bathroom to enhance safety. Supposing the flooring was warped, you should repair or replace uneven spots or visible damages that can lead to tripping hazards.
Choose senior-friendly hardware
Household fixtures such as cabinets, drawers and door knobs look very stylish. For most homeowners, keeping up with the trends is essential, and they try to make their homes modern and timeless. For instance, oak kitchens have come back in style even if no one expected it, and homeowners are looking for practical ways to bring this design into their homes. However, for seniors, the most important thing is safety and being able to do things independently.
Therefore, fixtures that require twisting, pinching or pulling aren’t suitable for seniors. Supposing your home has such fixtures, you can opt for lever-style knobs instead to reduce the difficulty of using them. Another smart upgrade is installing touchless faucets – you just have to place your hand under the spout when you want the water flow to start and take your hand away to stop it.
Modernize your furniture
There are several things you need to consider when purchasing furniture, such as sturdiness, comfort, safety and functionality. Wobbly furniture is an option you should avoid because it won’t support your weight; thus, you’ll be at risk of sliding and falling. Rather than conventional sharp-edged furniture, you should opt for a round corner one, as it reduces the chances of bumping into it and bruising yourself.
Your bed should also provide safety; thus, you should adjust its height so that it can protect you from getting hurt. One way to do this is to ensure your feet lay flat on the floor as you are seated on your bed. For extra support and stability, you can add bed rails to this piece of furniture. Consider placing a nightlight or a flashlight by your bedside. This will help ease movement, especially when you need to use the bathroom at night.
Invest in assistive technology
Technology makes your life easier in multiple ways. Whatever area in your life, these technological tools are designed for different purposes that can benefit you significantly. This is also true when it comes to creating a senior-friendly home. Smart appliances can help you increase security and safety in your living space, and they revolve around medical emergency systems, door locks, appliances, fire detectors, etc.
What’s more, they can send alerts to your phone, and you can operate and modify them. You may need to pay a monthly maintenance fee for these smart appliances, but the charges are affordable and reasonable. Plus, it’s worth making this investment, considering the benefits it can bring in the long run.
The bottom line
Safety is the most important thing in a home for seniors. Therefore, it’s essential to take a look at your current home and make the necessary adjustments to ensure you are protected and can live as comfortably as possible. These simple yet practical ideas will help you design a senior-friendly home that accommodates your needs.