Five Tips to Make Your Home Senior Accessible
Research has shown that keeping seniors at home to age in place is better for their long term health and happiness. However, a home that was once perfectly suited for them may no longer be safe, depending on their level of physical ability. There are plenty of ways to make a home more senior-friendly. Here are five tips to help prepare your home for senior accessibility.
Add Grip in the Bathroom
Showers and bathtubs can be hazardous for seniors, but there are lots of easy changes to make to a bathroom to make it senior-friendly. For showers, add grip mats to combat slipperiness. Give your loved one more support with handrails in the shower and tub and next to the toilet. U-shaped or angled bars are the best choices to prevent slippage. For their comfort, add a seat to the shower or tub. This can be a fold-down seat or a permanently installed fixture. Hand-held shower heads are great as well as they offer more mobility for seniors.
Increase Accessibility in the Kitchen
Make sure your loved one can easily access food and equipment in the kitchen and pantry. Open shelving or glass cabinet doors in the kitchen help seniors identify and find items, as well as reach for commonly-used appliances. For larger under-the-counter cabinets, consider installing rolling trays for more accessibility. Ovens and microwaves should have intuitive controls and simple interfaces.
Eyesight tends to deteriorate with age. Keep your loved one safe in a home that's brightly lit. If rooms have lots of natural light, don't hide it with blinds or curtains. In addition, consider using motion-sensitive lighting that will turn on in entryways, stairs, and other areas. This way, seniors won't have to walk in the dark to find a light switch. Focused lights in the kitchen, shower, and on the locks in entryways will provide additional assistance for fine-motor tasks.
Make Entryways Safe
Most homes don't have accessible entryways. A ramp or a handrail installed in the front or back of a home can go a long way in preventing accidents. Protect the entryway from the elements, especially rain and ice, with a surface mat that is good for grip or with an overhang that will keep the elements out. Make sure there is one horizontal surface for your loved one to put down any items they may be carrying before they leave or enter the home.
Walk through the home and make sure that all hallways are clear. If you have big furniture that is partially obscuring access to a room or door, consider moving it farther away. Think about doors as well. If they are not needed to provide privacy, you can remove them entirely to make moving around the house easier for seniors. Otherwise, you can consider transitioning to more senior-friendly doorknobs.
These tips will help you transition any home to the perfect place for your aging loved one to live in peace and safety. We here at Senior Helpers would love to guide you through the journey of at-home care or to discuss our services. We’re proud to offer care to seniors in Charlotte, Matthews, Mint Hill, Pineville, and the surrounding areas. We’re here for you.