A lot of seniors prefer to age at home instead of living at a nursing home or care facility. However, unlike a nursing home or care facility, a house generally isn’t as equipped to cater to elderly people’s needs or modified to ensure their safety. And if you’re reading this article, chances are you’re either living with an elderly loved one and wants to make the necessary adjustments at home to guarantee your aging loved one’s safety and comfort as they happily age in place surrounded by their family.
That said, we’ll be taking a look at the essential home improvements to convert your house into an elderly-friendly home:
#1 Safeguarding the Bathroom
In any home, the bathroom is arguably one of the most hazardous areas (right up there with the kitchen). Elderly people, particularly those with limited mobility, impaired senses, and slower reflexes, are more likely to slip in the bathroom, which can result in serious injuries or worse. That said, it’s crucial to install grab handles around the bathroom and replace the flooring for safer non-slip flooring materials when possible, and also to continually keep the bathroom floor dry by mopping it before and after use. You should also consider installing a call and alarm button on the bathroom (and the kitchen) to be used in case of an emergency.
#2 Stair Safety
Stairs are also quite hazardous for seniors (as well as kids) at home. Even though your stairs already have handles, it’s still recommended to have easy-to-grab wall-mounted handles for added security and to help facilitate going up and down the stairs. A better option would be adding a chair lift or a residential elevator to help your elderly loved one move between floors. It’s also vital to install additional lighting in the stair area, especially if your elderly loved one has trouble seeing. A more cost-efficient way would be to eliminate the need for your elderly loved one to get up the stairs altogether by placing their room, bathroom, and everything they need in the ground level of your home.
#3 Wider Doors and Hallways
In order to accommodate walkers and wheelchairs, you may need to widen your doors and hallways, and make sure that there aren’t any ‘bumps’, steps, or sudden dips in your rooms and hallways to make it easier for them to go around the house with their walkers/wheelchair, or to minimize falling or tripping risks.
#4 Elderly-Friendly Kitchen
The kitchen can be just as hazardous, if not more so, than the bathroom due to sharp tools, fire hazards, chemicals/inedible products that they can be mistook as food/beverage, and wet floors. To improve kitchen safety, you should place food items and tools at arm’s reach to prevent your elderly loved one from over-reaching or crouching. It’s also necessary to adjust countertops in the same manner and add additional lighting to facilitate seeing and reading.
Bonus Tip: Financing Home Improvements
These home renovations for the safety and comfort of your loved one aging in place don’t come cheap, but they certainly are going to be worth every penny. Luckily, even if you don’t have funds ready for the home modification project, there are organizations, insurance companies, and government agencies that may be able to give you a grant or assistance to help cover the cost, given that you qualify for them. Alternatively, a quicker way to get the finances you need for home improvements is through a renovation loan — there are mortgage companies in Salt Lake City that help you pre-qualify for this type of loan.
For your elderly loved one to age in place, you must have these home improvements so that they can do so safely and comfortably. Fortunately, you have a lot of options to help finance this endeavor, and there are even contractors you can hire that specialize in senior home modifications.