Whether they live alone or with family, seniors still want to maintain some of their independence in conducting their day-to-day lives with minimal assistance. In many cases, this independence is an essential part of keeping their quality of life high and preserving their dignity in their golden years. Fortunately, there are many ways to make an elderly person’s home more accessible to them as their body ages and their mobility ceases being what it used to be. In this article, we will detail several steps that you can take to make your senior’s home the safe and comfortable place that it should be.
5 Ways to Increase In-Home Accessibility for the Senior in Your Life
In addition to providing much-needed independence and dignity, home modifications increase the safety of the home for the elder who lives there. Here are 5 ways that you can have your home made more safely accessible for your aging family member. It is worthwhile to consult an occupational therapist to determine which of these modifications are most suitable for your home and loved one. Most of these tips are inexpensive to apply in the home and can be done in a single afternoon.
Replace Cabinet Knobs and Doorknobs
Seniors with arthritis and other conditions that impact the mobility of their hands can struggle with opening anything that’s been outfitted with circular knobs. Pull bars are much easier to use in these cases, as they only require a small amount of downward weight to open the cabinet or door.
Install a Bar in the Shower/Bath
Slippery bathtubs are a hazard for everyone, but seniors are especially vulnerable to slip and falls in the shower or when getting out of the bath. The installation of a bar in this potentially dangerous area is a great way to help safeguard your loved one against such incidents. When they have the bar to lean on and help them as they hoist themselves out of the shower or bath, this provides added stability that can prevent many slip and falls.
Increase Lighting Throughout the Home
It is no secret that, as we age, our vision begins to decline. Seniors who are left to navigate within a dark home can injure themselves in unexpected ways. The best way to avoid this risk is to make sure that the home is always illuminated enough to let the senior see where they are going and what is around them. Staircases are an example of such an area where the use of night lights can be incredibly advantageous, as a trip down the stairs can result in injury and even tragedy. Higher wattage bulbs placed strategically throughout the home can be a lifesaver.
Additionally, you should attempt to minimize the amount of glare in the home. Glare can become disorienting, even within a perfectly well-lit home. Avoid waxing floors, as this can make them shine unnecessarily. Make sure the walls and ceilings are painted a light shade of glare-resistant paint. In conjunction with well-placed lighting, a glare-free home is a safer one.
A spacious and clutter-free home is the safest option for everyone, but especially for seniors with sensory loss. Unnecessary furniture and other items increase the risk of tripping and falling. Your senior loved one might run into things that can cause physical injury – like the corner of an end table.
This does not mean that you must eliminate all furniture in the home, of course. One should, however, keep their senior’s space free of anything that is not necessary. Excess furniture and cluttering items can be given to family members, sold, donated or even simply stored to go through at a later time.
Consider Smart Home Technology
This is surely the most expensive tip on our list, but smart home technology has done wonders to make homes safer throughout the world. Which smart home options you invest in will depend on your needs and budget, but all of them can assist in making a home safer for seniors with mobility problems or dementia symptoms. Smart locks can be operated via a cell phone app, so seniors don’t have to get up and walk across the home to lock or unlock the door. Smart cameras can be viewed by loved ones to ensure the safety of their senior relative when they are not home.