When starting to consider modifications and adjustments to a home when one is getting older there are three main areas to looks as for making a senior’s home safer.  Those areas are safety, lighting, and accessibility.

Safety Modifications

The most common problem with seniors is falling down.  90% of broken hips are the result of a fall.  All too often unintentional falls lead to in home care, assisted living, nursing home – specifically loss of independence.   Modifications made around the home can prevent these services, and can also prevent a fall that can lead to death.

  • Replace all tubs with shower stalls that include molded or pull-down seating.  One of the most dangerous areas of the house is getting in and out of a wet slippery shower or tub.  The floor should have non-skid strips, or slip-resistant tiles to prevent falling.  
  • Install grab bars in the shower stalls.  The more the better around the house.  
  • Install a hand-held shower-head
  • Add grab bars around all toilets in the home
  • Install raised toilet seat making it easier to get on and off the toilet.  
  • Install sturdy handrails on both sides of all stairs leading upstairs, and down into the basement.  
  • Carpeting and tile floors can be replaced with non-skid  type flooring.  This prevent slips and trip on tile and carpet.
  • Add non-skid strips to edges of stairs (carpet free stairs are generally safer)
  • Eliminate all stairs from the home  (Convert a extra den or living room into a new bedroom)
  • Installing anti-scald devices on shower-heads and faucets to prevent burns
  • Check around the house for exposed wires and cords that can be tripped over and modify them so they are out of the way

Lighting Modifications

My father always asks me “how can you see in such little light” well the reason is I am young.  The older you get the more light you need to see.  One of the services first used by our company is transportation needs because seniors can not see as well at night.  Years of use leave your eyes strained, and in need of more light to see what is in front of you.

  • Make sure there is adequate lighting throughout the house, and that it is even so there are no dark areas.
  • Make sure all light switches are close to the entrances of all rooms, and at the top and bottom of all stairwells.
  • Lighted, or glow in the dark switch plates will help seniors locate where the switch is which out having to fumble around
  • Install lights inside closets and cabinets
  • Install under-cabinet lighting in the kitchen
  • Install motion-sensor exterior lighting
  • Use high watt light bulbs in stairwells and other hazardous areas
  • Change the blinds or window shades to maximize natural light that can enter in through windows.

Accessibility Modifications

Design ideas that will help with accessibility and make a senior’s home easier to live in as they age in place with in home care

  • Lower counter tops  cabinets, and shelving to lower heights for easier access.  Lower levels with make items easier to reach as mobility, balance, and range of motions decline
  • Converting kitchen cabinets into drawers allows them to hold pots and pans, which are usually stored either high up, or down low.  
  • Replace door knobs with lever handles
  • Install a permanent or portable wheelchair ramps
  • Install a stair chair lift
  • If possible consider increasing the width of door openings to accommodate wheelchairs

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Allowing a loved one to age in place while modifying their home to meet their needs gives them the independence they like.  These are just a few ideas to help keep someone happy in their own home.  If more assistance is needed contact Minute Women Inc for in home care for seniors.