The home we live in today is built to suit today’s needs, but what about when we start aging like in our 60s and 70s? Older adults begin experiencing problems with their physical and mental well-being like vision problems, mobility issues, joint pains, etc. The rate of falls and fractures in people over 60 increase by 200 percent due to improper home furnishings.
That is why home renovations occur for senior citizens’ safety and to help them live as long as possible. Making a safe home for the senior members to live reduces dependency, prevents injury, and reduces falls. Additionally, it also saves a lot of energy, which decreases the utility bills.
Changes in structure, size, and makeup of a household to suit various age-groups is a big step. So, here are six easy home renovations that will suit you or an aging family member.
1. Safe and friendly floors
Choosing the right flooring material for older homeowners is very critical. For deciding the correct flooring, there are a few factors that everyone should consider. The five elements are:
- Ease of mobility
- Easy to maintain
These factors vary as per the location of the flooring. For instance, for bathroom flooring, one must consider a slip-resistant material that is comfortable to stroll on and maintain, whereas, for the drawing-room, one can choose a warm and soft flooring.
Carpets are ideal for the home. It reduces the risk of falling and protects against any injury. Choose high-quality rugs that have padding beneath, which can increase the comfort and safety for the elderly. Senior citizens might also feel uncomfortable to walk on cold floorings. Choosing carpet flooring will be a much pleasant experience to their feet than a ceramic tile.
In bright daylight, various homes have much sunlight coming into the rooms. But, when the sun sets, the amount of illumination might reduce due to poor lighting. Senior citizens with poor visions might find it difficult to see in this reduced light setting. Therefore, you must install lighting that provide even light levels at all times.
While installing new lighting, make sure that they blend harmoniously into the overall architectural design. Reduce illumination intensity at the exits in the living area to avoid any fall. You can increase the wattage of the lights in interior hallways and stairways. In the front and back entrances installing motion sensors will prevent any missteps and falls. In the kitchen, you can install task lighting, making it easier for older adults to work.
3. Widen the doorways and hallways
If a senior citizen relies on mobility aids like a folding mobility scooter, it is vital to widen the doorways for easy navigation. Instead of opting for a significant renovation, consider substituting the existing door hinges with offset door hinges. These hinges let the door swing out of the frame, which adds more width to the doorway.
Small bathroom spaces can make it difficult for older adults to get in and out, especially when using a mobility device. So, a great tip is to change the direction of the bathroom door opening to the outwards instead of inside the bathroom.
4. Add lever handles to doors and cabinets
People with arthritis and stiff joints find it challenging to grab small knobs on doors and cabinets. Therefore, replace these knobs with C or D shaped pulls that lets you wrap your fingers around them. This makes it easier for the elderly to hold and open the doors and cabinets quickly.
Sometimes the misaligned doors also become challenging to open and close. Rubbing off the edges of the door with sandpaper can be a quick fix to this problem.
Garage doors can also be challenging and downright hazardous for senior citizens to operate. Getting a roll-up door instead of a slab garage door makes it easier for seniors to manage.
Some seniors find difficulty in using keys. Installing door locks with remote keys can let the older adults operate the door using mobile phones, making it an excellent improvement for the doorways.
5. Safe stairs
Stairs can be dangerous for older adults as they are already at the risk of falling, and slipping from stairs can be even more critical. Some precautionary steps can prevent injuries and keep them safe. Check the handrails of the stairs for their stability.
There must be no movement on the bars, even if you lean on them. Also, even if there are only a couple of steps, install a sturdy handrail to prevent any fall. A wheelchair ramp is also an excellent option for smooth movement in and out of the home. Keep the top and bottom of the stairs clear of loose carpets and any furniture that blocks the way.
There must be sufficient stair lighting also from top to bottom. Using a low-glare overhead lighting and stair lighting will ensure that every step and its edges are clearly defined to prevent any falls.
Additionally, the stair material is also an important aspect to consider. If the stairs are made of wooden materials, then change them to rubber or anti-slip tape. If carpets exist on the stairs, then make sure that they are not sagging or loose.
6. Add grab bars in the bathroom
Bathrooms are the regions that are most vulnerable to accidents in the house for older adults. The thought of an older member falling in the bathroom is a nightmare for the caregivers. To safeguard your loved ones from such accidents, install toilet grab bars that lessen the chance of mishaps. They are easy to set up and are inexpensive.
Bathroom bars are extremely strong, supporting the elderly to hold on to them while sitting and standing. The thought that there is something for support in the toilet gives them a sense of safety and self-confidence.
The grab bars come in either metal or plastic material. The most commonly installed is a stainless steel bathroom bar with a smaller diameter that gives a good grip.
The above is the simple, low-cost home renovation ideas that one must add to their home, making it safe for the senior citizens. Discuss these tips with your loved ones and let them know about your concerns about their safety. These home renovations will help in taking care of their needs and makes the house accident-proof.