Many elderly homeowners are now opting to stay in their homes instead of choosing assisted living. They want to spend as many days as possible in their homes where they have spent decades raising their families and creating cherished memories.
Another reason for wanting to stay in their homes is the increased cost of long-term care in retirement communities.
But as a person ages, simple tasks like climbing the stairs, getting up from a chair, or crouching down to reach the back of the shelf require gargantuan effort. That is why it becomes essential to make a few changes to the home decor to make it safe, comfortable, and accessible for elderly homeowners.
Following are some tips that will reduce fall risks, prevent injuries, and ensure independence without changing the aesthetics of the home:
Ensure Safe Floors
Elderly homeowners need to ensure that the floors of their homes are accident-proof. As one gets older, a fall can have pretty serious repercussions. Make sure that the floor is easy to walk on, not slippery, and can be cleaned easily with a lightweight vacuum cleaner. Use anti-skid tiles in the bathroom and avoid using polished stone flooring in the living room as it can get slippery when wet.
You should also keep the safety requirements and mobility needs of the elderly in mind. Stairs with handrails and ramps for wheelchairs should be provided to ensure that they can move about the house safely. Remove all tripping hazards like cords, rugs, or any other clutter from the floor. Take care of cracked tiles or any other flooring repair as soon as possible as they are a serious fall hazard.
Furniture should be arranged such that it ensures ample space for the elderly to move about freely without bumping into sharp corners or low tables. Arrange daily-use items on lower shelves for easy reach. It is also a good idea to place a small table or shelf beside the bed to keep items like medicine, spectacles, water, and phones within easy reach.
Make sure to opt for sofas and chairs with sufficient cushion support and a reclining back to provide maximum comfort. Put stools in the kitchen and shower to allow seniors to cook and bathe independently.
Make it Bright!
Eye ailments and eyesight changes are also common in older people. Instead of yellow lights, it might be better to light up the home with brighter and cooler lights. It is also vital to provide focused lighting for reading and adequate ambient general lighting around the home, as it ensures safe movement on the stairs and around furniture.
Low lighting or dark areas may appear ominous and confusing, especially to seniors suffering from dementia. Providing sufficient lighting to brighten up the home can help ease their mind and offer a clearer understanding of their surroundings.
Changing a light bulb can be a risk for the elderly. Switch to LED lights as they last longer and are not too expensive. Advanced technology has also made it possible to operate fans, lights, and air-conditioners with a single remote control, which is much more convenient for elders.
Pay Special Attention to Security
Not many people pay any particular attention to windows and doors; however, it is always better to periodically check them to make sure that knobs and hinges are tightened, and they shut and lock properly.
It is a great idea to invest in a good-quality home security system for complete peace of mind. By installing a home security system, elder homeowners not only keep their homes protected from break-ins and burglaries, but it also allows them quick access to emergency medical services.
Smart locks, security cameras, sprinklers, burglar alarms, etc. are all basic amenities that ensure the safety and security of elderly homeowners while making sure they enjoy a quality lifestyle.
Don’t Forget the Exterior Walkways
Poorly maintained walkways and uneven surfaces can result in accidents. It is vital to maintain the outdoor spaces to prevent any falls. You should hire someone to regularly trim the trees and shrubbery.
Any moss or cracks on the walkway should be taken care of immediately. A smooth path to the mailbox will ensure that you can collect the mail without any accident.
Change the Doorknobs
The twisting motion typically used to open and close the doors can become difficult for older people, especially for those suffering from arthritis. Replace the round doorknobs with lever-style handles for comfort and ease.
Renovate the Bathrooms
Older people, especially those suffering from chronic joint pain or recovering from an injury, may find it painful to use regular bathroom seats. Investing in a raised toilet seat helps alleviate pain and makes it easier for elder people to use the bathroom without any assistance.
Replace the bathtub with a walk-in shower, as the latter is much easier and safer to enter and exit. It is also advisable to install bars near bathtubs or shower stalls to prevent falls.
Another convenient option is to replace the regular shower head with a handheld one. Such shower heads feature a hose length between three and six feet, making it easier to use them while sitting on the shower stool.
Taking care of their home and doing household chores not only ensures the mental and physical well-being of the elderly, but it also provides them with a sense of purpose. Your primary purpose should be to incorporate such features into the home that makes these elderly people as independent as they can be. By creating a safe home and reducing accident risks, you can help them carry out their daily activities easily and safely.
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