As your parents or grandparents age, it is important to improve home accessibility to address their personal needs as well as anticipate future needs. The benefit of creating an accessible home is to help your seniors maintain independence while at the same time minimizing the risk of injury from falls. The changes you make to their home will help your parents or grandparents to live longer in their homes without needing to enter into a care facility.
While each senior is different, planning for current and future needs is important. Each room may have its own requirements that help to make the home either safer or providing better access.
Here are a few ways to make your home more accessible:
The bathroom may seem difficult to make improvements to; however, bathrooms only require small changes to provide safety. Considering most bathrooms are prone to slip and falls and surrounded by hard counters, toilets, tubs, and floors, a bathroom should be your first safety consideration.
A few considerations for a senior’s bathroom include grab bars and shower chairs to assist in getting in and out of a tub or shower. Elevated toilet seats can also help your seniors go to the bathroom without having to rise from a crouching position. It may also be helpful to install slip-free flooring or a shower/tub which can be entered without needing to lift legs over the wall of the tub.
As we age it becomes more difficult to reach upward and outward without losing balance. The kitchen is a good example of a place where lower cabinets can enable seniors to safely reach needed items. In addition to reaching upward, consideration should be taken for your senior to not need to bend too far to reach items like pots and pans. Helpful ideas such as a customized kitchen cart that stores needed items, or magnetic knife and pot hangers will allow your senior to stand upright and access needed items.
The bedroom also has opportunities for improvement by either lowering the bedframe or purchasing a bed that can raise and lower to assist seniors in standing and laying down. A firm mattress can provide a better night’s sleep and also help seniors to move more easily from a laying to a raised position. Lowering hanger rods or creating a location for difficult to get to items can be helpful.
Rest of House
While most walkers are made so that they can easily fit through doorways while walking, many wheelchairs are not. If your senior is in a wheelchair you may need to widen doorways and create accessibility ramps where necessary. For homes with multiple levels can be fitted with stairlifts so that seniors can access multiple floors without climbing stairs.
If your senior parent or grandparent is not yet ready to lose their independence by moving into a care facility, it may be important to address the safety and accessibility for each room of their home. From installing grab bars that aid in standing and sitting to lowering cabinets and widening doors or creating ramps that provide wheelchair access you can help your seniors maintain their own independence while improving home safety.
Krista Harper, Guest Author
Disclaimer The opinions, information, and statements made within this article are those of the author alone and not of Heart ‘n Home Hospice. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions, or misrepresentations within this article. Heart ‘n Home Hospice is not liable for any damages resulting from our readers’ interpretations or actions when using the information from our website.