Updating a home to be senior friendly requires a lot of changes to be considered depending on the health concerns of your elderly loved one. From improving your entrance to senior-friendly bathroom fixtures, these suggestions will take a huge weight off your shoulders when worrying about your relative’s safety.
The ideal senior home is single story, with a ground-level entrance. However, this is not always the case, so there are ways to improve the safety of your existing situation. Many entrances have cracked sidewalks, uneven surfaces, and front steps to traverse. Here are some tips on making the entrance to your home more senior-friendly:
- Add non-slip flooring in the foyer inside the home.
- Repair cracks and uneven surfaces in front of house.
- If possible, install a ramp to create a no-rise entry.
- Use contrast strips on stairs (especially top and bottom steps) to increase visibility.
- Ensure at least one covered entryway to the home, to be protected from the elements upon exit or entry.
- Ensure adequate lighting at all entry points (motion sensing lights are handy for you and to detect movement from trespassers) and ensure lighting faces door locks.
This is the room in your home with the most hazards, and requires some adjustments for senior residents. Appliances, cabinets, faucets, and the pantry all need consideration when making your kitchen more senior-friendly.
- Switch to appliances with easy-to-read controls and simple buttons. Complicated appliances could result in accidents.
- An open-shelving design in the pantry allows easy access to food and ingredients.
- Glass cabinet doors allow your loved one to identify contents effortlessly.
- Install easy-to-use sink faucets, and set a maximum hot water temperature if possible.
There are a lot of accidents waiting to happen in the bathroom for seniors. Making the shower, tub, and toilet more accessible to enable your loved one to keep their independence.
- Slip prevention flooring in the shower can minimize the possibility of a fall. Ensure the mat installed is non-slip, because some mats can increase the risk of falling.
- Place grab bars in shower/tub and beside toilet. Avoid diagonal bars with may cause slipping.
- Install a fold-down or bench seat in the shower, ideally with padding for comfort. Some seats even have a structure that allows easy entry and exit.
- Install hand held shower heads (within reach) that adjust height, pressure, and spray. Ensure hose is long, ideally 6 feet.
- Add additional lighting in shower/tub. Dimly lit tubs are an accident waiting to happen.
These simple steps decrease the likelihood of an accident and provide peace of mind for you and your loved one when they’re in the home. Allowing them their independence also improves their spirit, which is equally important to their health as any of these preparations.