The overwhelming majority of seniors, when surveyed, say they want to stay in their homes. To do so, we must adapt their homes to meet their changing needs. The practice of “aging in place” has become more attainable as more seniors rely on in-home care rather than moving to assisted living facilities. Knowing what changes are necessary to ensure your living space is safe and comfortable can be overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be with a little guidance and support.
In this article, Comfort Home Care, Rockville, Maryland’s home health experts, share valuable tips for making your home more senior-friendly, comfortable, and safe. Keep reading for helpful guidance.
The Importance of a Senior-Friendly Home
Aging in place offers many benefits. It allows seniors to maintain their independence, remain close to their communities, and continue living in a familiar environment surrounded by cherished memories. To make this choice achievable, a few essential modifications to your home can enhance your senior’s quality of life.
1. Accessible Entryways
Installing handrails on both sides of your front and back steps gives your senior extra support as they climb and descend. This is important for interior stairways as well. Remember, their muscle strength and balance are likely not what they once were. You will also want to consider installing a ramp for seniors who use a wheelchair or walker.
Check the lighting to make sure they have a well-lit pathway with non-slip surfaces to prevent accidents during the evening hours and inclement weather.
2. Bathroom Modifications
Bathrooms can be particularly hazardous for seniors. The wet surfaces and tight spaces make them prone to slips and falls.
Consider installing grab bars near the toilet and in the shower or bath. These bars provide crucial support for balance and mobility. Non-slip mats and adhesive strips in the tub or shower add another layer of protection against falls.
A raised toilet seat can make getting up and down easier, reducing strain on joints.
3. Kitchen Adjustments
The kitchen is often the heart of the home, but it can pose challenges for seniors. To make it more senior-friendly, some simple rearranging is all that is usually needed. Move frequently used items and favorite foods to within easy reach.
For those seniors with more significant limitations, a remodeling may need to be done. Lowering the countertops and installing pull-out shelves in cabinets will make things more accessible and reduce the need to stretch or bend with heavier or sharp objects in hand.
Installing lever-style faucets are easier to handle than traditional knobs, reducing strain on arthritic hands.
Good lighting is essential for seniors. Dimly lit areas can lead to accidents and make daily tasks more challenging.
Install bright, energy-efficient LED lights throughout your home, especially in hallways, staircases, and task-oriented areas like the kitchen and bathroom.
Consider motion-sensor lights in critical areas – hallways, bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen – to prevent falling in the dark.
5. Flooring Choices
Flooring choices play an important role in a senior-friendly home. You will want to remove any loose carpeting or throw rugs as they can become tripping hazards. The same is true for the cushioned, raised cooking mats that have become popular. Many people have them in front of their oven/stovetop. Because they’re raised, they too can become a tripping hazard in a very dangerous location. If you want to replace these rugs/mats, choose a slip-resistant and easy-to-clean alternative.
Carpeting should be low-pile for those who have mobility issues or use a walker or wheelchair. The low pile will allow for easier movement with less resistance.
6. A Comfortable Bedroom
A comfortable bedroom is vital for a good night’s sleep and well-being. And a good night’s sleep is important for your senior’s mental and physical well-being.
The bed needs to be at a suitable height for easy entry and exit. You may want to consider an adjustable bed for personalized comfort. You’ll want to make sure they have enough bedding to keep them warm enough without being hot. But, remove excess, decorative pillows especially if they are moved to the floor before bedtime. These pillows increase their fall risk.
A bedside lamp with easy-to-reach controls is helpful for nighttime navigation, reducing the risk of accidents.
Set the thermostat to keep the temperature at your senior’s preference.
7. Home Security
Investing in a reliable home security system can have several benefits for a senior-friendly home.
Modern systems can include features like emergency buttons and remote monitoring, providing peace of mind and quick access to assistance if needed. These systems are especially valuable for seniors who live alone.
Cameras at the entrances to the home allow seniors to see who is at the door without having to get up from their favorite chair or bed. It also protects them from opening the door to unwanted visitors.
8. Emergency Preparedness
Creating an emergency plan and having a kit with essential supplies – extra medications, first aid products, personal care items, non-perishable foods, and water – is a proactive step that could be a lifesaver in the event of a power outage or other emergency. Share the plan with family members, trusted neighbors, and caregivers. Keep a list of emergency contact information easily accessible.
Preparing for unexpected situations ensures you or your loved one can respond quickly and appropriately.
9. Regular Maintenance
Maintaining your home is an ongoing responsibility that can impact safety and becomes more important as we age.
Fix loose handrails, uneven flooring, the HVAC system that’s making noise, or any other potential dangers promptly. Regular check-ups and repairs are needed for your senior-friendly home’s long-term safety and comfort.
10. Consider Professional Help
If you need help or expert guidance, consult with professionals specializing in home modifications for seniors aging in place. These experts can assess your home and recommend tailored solutions that address specific needs and concerns. In Rockville, MD, and the surrounding communities, Comfort Home Care is one of the experts. Contact us today to learn how we can make aging in place comfortable and safe for you or your loved one.
Creating a senior-friendly home for your loved one’s well-being can enhance their quality of life as they age gracefully in place. With the proper adjustments and support, the golden years can be a time of comfort and security.