Numerous studies by AARP have confirmed that 8 out of 10 seniors want to age in place instead of being moved into an assisted living facility or nursing home. They wish to spend their remaining years in a familiar home, surrounded by family, friends, and neighbors. It can be daunting having your senior loved one aging in a home that wasn’t designed for long-term care. However, some simple modifications can help build a safe home for your seniors where they’re happiest.
Here are five basic modifications to make a home safer for seniors:
For seniors relying on mobility aids like walkers or wheelchairs, standard doorway widths need to be widened to make it easier for them to move from room to room. A contractor can perform this modification. The cost will vary depending on the home’s structure and electrical outlets and switches placement.
Outside steps leading up to the front door can be a real challenge for seniors with mobility and balance issues, making installing outdoor ramps a much-needed home modification. A licensed contractor can build and install ramps with the proper height and angle.
Indoor ramps may also be necessary for seniors using wheelchairs. These ramps are often made of rubber and provide a smooth transition from one surface to another, such as from carpeting to tile.
Older adults may find their appliances in a location that doesn’t give them easy access, or their cabinets and countertops are too high, especially if they are in a wheelchair. A professional contractor can adjust counter heights and lower the sink, allowing easier access. Placing a microwave on a stand instead of at the back of the counter or in a raised microwave cabinet will also make using the kitchen easier for your loved one.
Bathtub and Shower Modifications
Bathroom modifications are critical for the safety of older adults aging at home.
Many families replace the bathtub with a walk-in shower that provides easier access and safer entry and exit. Walk-in tubs are also a great option for seniors who prefer bathing rather than showering.
Less expensive options for bathtub modification are purchasing and installing safety strips, adding a handrail and safety bar, and placing a transfer bench in the tub to help your senior safely get in and out of the tub.
Reducing or eliminating dangerous slips and falls can be done through a few simple flooring modifications. Replace old, shaggy carpets with new carpeting that has a shorter nap. It’s much easier for seniors to navigate using a wheelchair or walker.
Hardwood, laminate, vinyl, and tile floors are smoother and allow for easier wheelchair maneuvering, but they’re slipperier than carpeting. Putting throw rugs on flooring can help, but be sure to tape them down to prevent dangerous trips and falls securely.
Taking a proactive approach to home modifications can ensure that a senior can age in place at home and give family members peace of mind knowing that their loved one is safer.
Our Mission: Helping Seniors in Southwest Florida Age at Home Safely and With Dignity
Each of our caregivers at Home Instead, serving Naples, Fort Myers, and Charlotte County, goes through extensive training to help older adults fulfill their wish of aging at home. They help with personal care services and other tasks that can eventually become unsafe, like taking out the trash or performing other household chores.
Contact us today for personalized in-home senior care. We’d love to learn about your loved one’s needs and develop a customized care plan just for them.