Many seniors prefer to age in place at their home instead of moving to assisted living. Filled with familiar items and nostalgic memories, home truly is where their heart is. However, there are risks associated with staying at home. Various health and mobility issues can take their toll, causing seniors to be less able to do the things they always did in the way they always did them.
Whether seniors share a living space or live alone, it’s important that family, friends, caregivers and seniors themselves agree to make some essential modifications to the home environment to eliminate or greatly reduce hidden dangers. Here are some of the best ideas for home modifications.
Get Rid of Clutter
It’s amazing how many things can accumulate inside of a home over the course of many years. In some cases, there are too many items piled or stacked into various nooks and crannies. There can be so much clutter that it takes up most of the space in a room. In addition to being unsightly, and possibly unsanitary, clutter poses a safety risk for seniors. Dust, dirt and dander that accumulates on it can cause breathing problems for seniors dealing with asthma or COPD. Also, objects scattered on the floor can cause trip-and-fall accidents.
Keep in mind that removing or getting rid of items can be emotionally difficult for some seniors. This task requires compassion, patience and a good clutter removal and room organizing plan and process.
Increase Lighting and Reduce Glare
Seniors can benefit from increasing the amount of illumination at doorway entrances as well as in rooms, hallways, porches and garages. Consider getting more lamps and nightlights and making sure there are at least several flashlights and some sort of portable emergency light available for immediate use. However, the additional lights shouldn’t lead to too much glare, which can make objects hard to see. Painting rooms with anti-glare colors is a good solution for this problem.
Improve Bathroom Safety
The bathroom can become problematic as a person ages. Wet surfaces can be slippery, leading to falls. Reduce this risk with bath accessories such as grab bars, tub safety steps and toilet support. Add one or two slip-resistant bathmats in front of the tub and/or shower as well as the sink.
Find High-Quality Mobility Aids
Seniors who are slowing down or experiencing specific health challenges that make it more difficult to move their hands, feet or legs often find it helpful to use various mobility aids. One universally popular mobility aid is a grabber tool that makes it easy to reach and grab objects with little physical effort. Another common mobility aid is the portable step that can take the worry out of stepping into and out of entrance doorways.
Accommodate Walkers and Wheelchairs
Hire a contractor to widen doorways to make it easier for seniors using walkers and wheelchairs to get around indoors. Rearrange rooms to create more space between furnishings and consider giving them helpful tools like a rolling table that can be moved to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers.