Moving into a senior living facilities can be expensive and stressful. Here’s how you can remodel a home to make it safe and comfortable for the elderly.
Safe for Seniors
One of the main reasons for the elderly to move into a senior home is safety. The average home can be dangerous for a senior living alone. With a few modifications any home can be safer.
Single Level. Stairs not only require a lot of energy but can be dangerous too. Talk to a licensed contractor about how to add sleeping and laundry space to the first level of the home. Living on the first level only can keep your elderly loved one safer and help reduce energy costs too.
Light. Aging eyes need more light. Look for ways to brighten the hallways and stairwells. Use incandescent light bulbs when possible as many seniors’ eyes are sensitive to the glare of fluorescent lighting. Install motion sensitive light switches for added safety.
Switches, Outlets & Knobs. Arthritic hands have a tough time operating round door knobs, so switch to lever shaped handles. Move light switches lower and electrical outlets higher to reduce the need to bend and stretch.
Safety Monitors. Install a senior alarm that can signal for help in the event of an emergency. Most don’t require professional installation and are very affordable.
Bathroom Remodeling. Bathrooms can be dangerous. According to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control, slips and falls in the bathroom get more frequent and severe are we grow older. To make your home safer, ask your contractor about these items:
- Stall Showers. A walk-in shower eliminates the risk associated with climbing in and out of a bathtub, allowing most seniors to bathe unassisted.
- Temperature Control. Countless seniors are burned each year by scolding hot water. Keep your hot water heater at 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.
- Grab Bars. Have professionally installed safety grips install around the bathroom and inside the shower.
- Shower Seat. Purchase a seat for your senior to use in the shower. A seat will give him or her more stability.
- Floor Mats. Install skid-proof flooring in your bathroom. Remover high gloss floor tiles and throw rugs.
Other ways to make bathing and grooming easier and safer include raising counter levels and toilet seats. A higher counter will make using the sink easy without stooping and a high toilet seat makes sitting and standing safer and less strenuous. In addition to a medical alert system, install a telephone in the bathroom too.
Consider the need for bigger doorways and bathrooms when redesigning a home for an elderly loved one. Wheelchairs, walkers and other equipment can make moving through standard size doorways difficult. Bathrooms may need to be redesigned to allow the additional equipment that some elderly patients require.
Home renovations can be costly but when compared to the high ongoing costs of assisted living that can pay for themselves quickly. Some seniors will use a reverse mortgage to pay for these upgrades but we urge readers to consult with a HUD approved counselor before entering into any mortgage. Read more at the National Council on Aging.