About 1/3 of the senior population lives at home alone and each year one in three of those seniors will experience a debilitating fall. There are many home improvements that can create a much safer, easily accessible home.
No one wants to have to leave their home because it has become too hard to get around or reach things. Even the healthiest seniors can struggle with things that they have never had to worry about before. Here are a few improvements that can keep your home from becoming a hindrance as you age.
- Falls usually happen while getting in or out of the bathtub. Installing handles and a non-skid latex mat inside and outside will reduce the chances.
- Elevated toilets help people that find it hard to squat, bend, sit or stand. It’s a good idea to have grab bars anchored to the wall and floor beside the toilet, too.
- Set the thermostat on the water heater to a maximum of 120 degrees to prevent burns.
- Store toiletries, first aid supplies and other bathroom necessities at waist level where they limit bending, stooping or stretching. (This is true for all rooms.)
- Consider a tub seat or walk-in shower unit.
- Raise the dishwasher so bending is not needed for loading and unloading.
- Use multi-level counter heights with open space beneath to allow for sitting.
- Replace higher cabinets with lower shelving or drawers. Often used items should be handy.
- Install a wall oven, lowered for comfortable use. Use a countertop range, lower the height for ease of use.
- Flat surfaces around the stove are easier to clean and allow sliding of heavy pots instead of lifting.
- Replace doorknobs and faucets with lever handles.
- No step threshold can decrease falls.
- Building walk-in closets with multiple heights allows easy reaching.
- Install rocker light switches that are easier to turn on and off compared to the old fashioned flip switch.
- Make sure there is ample room to maneuver easily between furniture and walls.
Remodels can be expensive but if you do a little at a time the cost of these updates are manageable AND will cost far less in the long run than an assisted living facility.