When updating your house to make it senior-friendly, there are several things to consider. These include kitchen conveniences, bathroom fixtures, and much more. There are many options you can find on the internet which, together with your novel ideas, can prepare a lovely home for your loved ones. Not everyone has the luxury of designing a house for their aging parents. However, by using a universal design, you can create safe and comfortable housing for the seniors in your life. Several ideas can be used in existing homes by using simple retrofitting.
1. Non-Slip Flooring
Slippery surfaces inside a home are often a cause of accidents. All flooring inside the house must be made slip-resistant. You can do this by adding non-skid mats under the area rugs, or you might wish to remove the area rugs entirely. Remember, tripping is as dangerous as slipping, therefore, remove tripping points, such as thresholds, wherever possible. When you cannot remove them entirely, at least reduce their height. For the seniors who use walkers, add low pile carpeting so the walker doesn’t catch on the deep pile and cause a fall.
2. Well-Lit Housing
You need to have good lighting throughout the house; having just a well-lit staircase will not be enough. Having dark rooms is a clear invitation for a fall or a bump, and therefore, you must ensure that there is the right lighting in the lobby, doorways, and rooms. The entryways have to be well-lit because they are especially dangerous. The landing places are where there is maximum fumbling with packets, keys, and the mail. All this can cause unbalance and distraction for those entering the house. Apart from providing good lighting in the entryways, ensure that you have a table, bench, and other surfaces close by for placing things on.
3. Better Bathrooms
Most people are of the mind that having shower grab bars will make bathrooms safer, but there are other methods to make for a safer bathroom. For example, you can add grab bars close to the toilet as well. Have them in the most used rooms in places where a helping hand might be needed. A step-in shower is definitely a great option, but you cannot add grab bars there to help an elderly person get in and out.
Having a faucet control which has a single handle will decrease the chances of scalding near the washbasins or sinks. A pressure-balanced control will do the same in a shower. Handheld shower heads are easier for people that have limited mobility than the fixed overhead ones.
4. Build a Functional Kitchen
Aging seniors need a functional kitchen to cook and bake in, or even just to keep food inside of, that is designed in a way that minimizes the need for crouching and bending for anything. Have kitchen appliances that come with easy to read controls and simple push-button interfaces. Shift to using the wall oven, as this will pave the way for easy access to the device and there is no need for lifting items from the floor or from hot doors. You can use microwave drawers as they are a great addition to the seniors. You can use an open shelf design for allowing easy access to the frequently used articles.
5. Appropriate Mattress
Ensure that you find the best mattress for use in the bedroom, and note that it has to be of appropriate height. If the mattress used by the elderly people in your home is too high or low, it may result in a fall. The recommended thickness for a mattress is 20 to 23 inches. Adjustable mattresses are also useful for the long-term health of the senior citizen. Their ability to be raised and lowered makes it easy for most people to get in and out of the bed. Air loss mattresses are another popular mattress choice for seniors.
6. Other Considerations
There are many other things you need to consider when designing a house for elderly people. You can get non-slip strips outside the house or scuff the surface to create better footing. You will also have to repair cracked uneven areas on your walkways going towards the house.
You can create a low-rise entry towards the house by building a ramp. If you have stairs around the house, have rails on either side of them. These rails must be at least one to one and a half inches in diameter in order to properly accommodate seniors. It is possible to improve the staircase visibility by using contrasting strips on the top and bottom of the stairs, creating a color contrast between the risers and treads on the stairs.
The safety of all members of your household should be your number one priority. These few tips should help you achieve your goal of making your home senior friendly.