With the majority of older adults deciding to continue to live at home during the course of aging, it is important to complete a comprehensive home assessment to look for and resolve any dangers and ensure those you love stay safe. The best way to accomplish this is to begin outside of the home and work your way in, room by room, visualizing exactly what your experience would be in every location if you struggled with the likely challenges that occur when we get older, such as with vision or balance.
Listed below are several tips for house modification for the elderly to help you get started:
- Check sidewalks as well as other walking areas for uneven pavement, loose bricks, cracks, leaves, and other debris
- Confirm the address number, either on the mailbox and/or home itself, is clearly visible in the event emergency responders need to locate the house
- If there are stairs or a ramp leading up to the front door, a handrail should be mounted on both sides
- Remove any clutter, cords, or other things that could potentially cause a person to trip
- Utilize a no-trip threshold in the doorway
- Ensure there is sufficient lighting, and a small table to put packages, a purse, as well as other items when entering the home
- Remember to keep often-used items in easy-to-reach locations
- Make use of Lazy Susans, pull out cabinets, and shelves for better access
- Use touch, sensor, or lever handles instead of knobs that turn
- Set water temperature to no more than 120 degrees F
- Install grab bars next to the toilet, in the tub/shower, and in any other strategic locations
- Consider a higher toilet, or add a toilet seat riser, as well as a shower chair and handheld shower wand
- Always use non-slip strips in the bathtub as well as on the floor, and remove any throw rugs or mats (or ensure they’re safely attached to the floor)
- Place nightlights both within the bedroom itself and in the hallway leading to the bathroom
- Clear away any obstacles between the bed and doorway, and any other areas within the room where the senior may walk
- Replace throw rugs with carpeting
Throughout the entire house, ensure that walkways are clear and large enough to accommodate a wheelchair or walker. It is also important to put in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, testing them regularly and changing batteries at least every 6 months.
And, consider an emergency response pendant for your senior loved one to wear, which can be activated to call for help in the event of a fall or other emergency.
Above all, partner with an established and trusted home care provider, like Grace Home Care, the top providers of companion in care in Topeka, KS and surrounding areas. We’re available to complete a house safety assessment and suggest additional steps that can be taken to ensure your senior loved one remains safe, as well as offer a number of in-home care services, tailored to every individual’s distinct needs.