6 Home Modifications for Seniors Aging in Place
Eighty percent of seniors want to remain living in their current home for as long as possible.
It’s critical for seniors and their families to ensure their physical environment supports independence and this translates to a greater need for home modifications, including ramps and stairlifts.
To help you plan for a safer living environment as you age, here are six modifications you can make to your home no matter where you live.
Grab Bars in High-Risk Areas
Worldwide, approximately 37 million falls require medical attention every year. Unfortunately, seniors are among the most susceptible to fall injuries. Reducing fall hazards in the home is the first step to protecting yourself or your loved one.
One of the easiest and most economical things you can do is to install grab bars.
Grab bars or railings in bathrooms and bedrooms provide more stability for seniors with mobility issues and helps prevent slip-and-fall injuries. Even if you don’t have current problems with mobility, installing grab bars is an excellent way to be proactive and can allow you to continue to age in place.
In the bathroom, install grab bars in the shower or bathtub. This is an area prone to slippery surfaces. Don’t forget to grab bars near the toilet.
Many people don’t think about the bedroom when considering where to install grab bars. If getting in and out of bed has become a challenge for you or someone you provide care for, a grab bar near the bed can help.
Replace Your Faucets
Most people take manual dexterity for granted—until they begin dealing with everyday problems due to aging. For example, limited agility and reduced hand strength make it harder to turn twist faucets on and off in the bathroom and kitchen.
Consider replacing twist faucet handles with easier-to-manage levers. You can also install anti-scald faucets in the shower or bathtub. These faucets prevent sudden bursts of hot water if cold water is redirected when someone flushes a toilet or turns on the washing machine.
Add an Outdoor Ramp
Have you ever experienced a friend or family member avoiding a visit to your home because they couldn’t navigate the steps leading up to the front door? Whether using a wheelchair or not, stairs pose a significant challenge and safety hazard for older adults. Harmar offers a range of solutions from rubber threshold ramps to aluminum modular ramps.
Of course, a wheelchair all but forbids visits to friends with stairs. In addition, seniors with other mobility-related issues, such as balance, can have trouble navigating stairs, even when there’s a handrail.
An outdoor ramp eliminates the need to worry about going up and downstairs. You could also install threshold ramps inside the home. This type of ramp makes it easy to transition from one room to another.
What types of flooring do you think make the safest options for people aging in place? To answer the question, it helps to look at ADA standards for flooring, even if you don’t operate a business or other institution that comes under their jurisdiction.
Since flooring can cause trip-and-fall accidents, it’s vital to figure out the best type of flooring for folks who want to age in place.
The key to safe floors for seniors is to ensure the flooring materials are slip-resistant and smooth. That rules out surfaces such as high-pile carpeting and cobblestone walkways.
If you’re remodeling a bathroom to make it more senior-friendly and you’re planning to install ceramic tiles, make sure they’re ADA certified for slip resistance. If you have ceramic tile and don’t plan on removing it, you can roll on an ADA-approved coating that reduces slip hazards.
Update the Doors
If you’re looking for ways to help a loved one age in place, some of the easiest and most cost-effective home modifications for seniors are updates to doors and doorways. Here are a few changes that allow older adults use walkers or wheelchairs more easily:
- Replace existing hinges with offset door hinges
- Change the bathroom door so that it swings outward
- Purchase portable threshold ramps
- Change standard doorknobs to levers
You can also widen doorways to make them wheelchair-accessible. The ideas above don’t require significant modifications. However, widening an opening is considered a major renovation project, and it means brand new doors.
All of these tips help reduce fall risk and make life for seniors safer and more convenient.
Install a Stairlift
If the home where you plan to age in place has stairs, you might not feel the challenge today, but you could have trouble moving from one floor to another in the future. So now is a great time to think about installing a stairlift.
Whether you have a straight or curved staircase, there’s a stairlift designed to fit your home and your needs.
Selecting the right stairlift can feel overwhelming, but with the help of a knowledgeable accessibility expert, you can have peace of mind that the one you choose will offer you the freedom to continue living independently for as long as possible.
Stairlifts come with a variety of features that make not only your life easier and safer, but they won’t interfere with other family members and visitors. For example, you can fold a stairlift’s seat and footrest close to the wall or bannister. This makes it easy for other household members to use the stairway without maneuvering around the stairlift.
Ready to Make Home Modifications for Seniors Today?
Regardless of your DIY skills, budget, or the design of your home, there are various steps you can take to make your home aging-in-place-friendly. Any of the home modifications for seniors we’ve discussed will make the environment in your home safer for you or a loved one.
If you’ve decided to install a ramp or stairlift, let us help. Here at Harmar, we have several options to fit any budget and most home designs. So, contact us today for help locating a dealer.