Whether you are making your home safe for a beloved senior in your family or you are equipping your senior’s home for safety and ease of use, the team at Stellar Transport offers these tips to help. Updating to a senior friendly home can allow your loved one to age in place at home or move into your home conveniently. From bathrooms to kitchens to entryways and lighting, there is much to be done, so let’s get started.
Entryways and Walkways
Safety, accessibility, and ease of use are the goal which means uneven surfaces, poor lighting, and hazards must be corrected for senior friendly living. Outside this may mean repairing cracked sidewalks and uneven walkways for greater mobility and adding non-slip strips to steps and ramps leading inside the home. Consider adding ramps at doorways to create no-rise entry points. You’ll also want a covered entry point for your senior as well as an area to lay packages for safely entering the house (or exiting from the inside). Also, add enhanced lighting, including motion sensor lights for locks, stairs, and ramps.
In the house, add non-slip flooring at entryways and continue the no-rise ramps at doorways throughout the house. Add rails to both sides of any stairways and increase lighting to ensure visibility on the stairs. You’ll also want to remove small rugs which can pose slip, trip, and fall hazards for aging adults. Make sure hallways are kept clear of items which could block the pathway or go unseen by your loved one.
In the Kitchen
Even though a loved one is aging, the kitchen can still be functional and enjoyable. Increase accessibility and limit the need to bend or climb to reach items within. Appliances should be easy to use (push button is best) with easy to read controls. Consider upgrading to a side-open traditional oven or a wall oven for easier access. Microwave drawers are also a great option for aging seniors. Open shelving or glass cabinet doors make it simple for your loved one to find what they need with ease, and Lazy Susans and pull out shelving adds to accessibility. Depending on your loved one’s dexterity, consider changing to a single lever faucet or a touch faucet. If needed, you can add pedal controls for faucets.
In the Bathroom
The bathroom is the place where most slip and falls occur, so making it senior friendly and safe is crucial. Slip-prevention in the form of non-slip rug tape, non-slip strips or non-skid bathmats in the shower and bathtub. Grab bars (u-shaped, vertical, or angled bars are best) should be installed in showers, tubs, and by the toilet. A fold-down seat or bench in the shower will add an extra measure of safety as will a bench/set which extends outside the bathtub. Hand-held adjustable height shower heads make showers and baths easier for seniors as does the addition of lighting directly in the shower stall.
All Around the House
The traffic flow may need to be altered for senior friendly living spaces. Rearrange living areas to allow seniors to easily move about without bumping into furniture. Clean, organized, and clutter free spaces will mean ease of mobility for your loved one. You can maintain an aesthetically pleasing layout that also provides free passage throughout the space.
In the bedroom, a higher bed, and furniture of a standard height is best, making it easier for your loved to one to rise, lie down, and sit up independently. When choosing a bed, you loved one’s feet should be able to touch the floor when sitting on the side of the bed. Always provide adequate and easy to reach lighting throughout the house, and add daylight sensor or motion sensor lights should your senior need to get up during the night for a glass of water or a trip to the bathroom.