Our home is a place where we wish to feel safe. We want to create an environment that’s our warm haven.
If you wake up in the middle of the night to grab a glass of water, your kitchen floor shouldn’t have any rough edges only for you to end up stubbing your toe. Similarly, you shouldn’t experience any trouble getting out of bed again and walking to the switchboard to turn off the lights after you’ve already hit the sack.
These considerations become more important if your elderly parents or relatives stay with you. Hence, it becomes crucial to make your home senior-friendly.
Ways to Make Your Home Senior-Friendly:
When it comes to preparing your home for your senior family member, you can take several easy steps regardless of the size and the features of your home. From engaging the services of a chimney sweep & masonry to hiring an electrician and a carpenter, making your home senior-friendly is vital to ensure your elderly loved one’s safety and comfort.
Here are some factors you can consider:
1. Install Lever-Style Door Handles
For elders who suffer from arthritis or chronic pain, it can be difficult to twist round doorknobs due to the extra pressure required to open them. They also need to be grasped tightly. Instead, you can install lever-style door handles. They’re much easier to use for senior citizens, for they only need to be pushed down to open the door while applying very little pressure.
2. Make Your Staircase Safer
It is necessary to ensure that the staircase in your home is safe for use by your elders. Make sure the stairway is well-lit from top to bottom so that they can see the steps clearly, thereby reducing the chances of accidents.
It also makes sense to add handrails on both sides of the staircase. These handrails need to be comfortable to hold on to as well as sturdy enough to support anyone’s weight.
Use contrasting colors between the steps of the stairs so that seniors with vision problems can see where one step ends and the next begins. Ensure the stairs aren’t too high or uncomfortable for your elders to climb them.
You can also consider a stair chair lift to make the movement simpler for the seniors residing in your home. Choose a stair chair lift depending on their mobility needs and the kind of staircase in your home.
3. Modify Your Bathroom
Bathrooms are highly accident-prone areas in a home, not just for the elderly, but for anyone. It’s always a good idea to take extra precautions in this part of the house.
Don’t install a grab bar only in the shower, but also add one next to the toilet so your elders can maintain their balance and steadiness when getting in and out of the shower. A step-in shower or a walk-in bath is always more preferable for senior citizens.
Also, go for handheld showerheads, for they’re much easier to operate and give the elderly a sense of independence. A shower chair makes the process of bathing much easier for those who have trouble standing for a long period of time. Look for chairs with non-slip rubber tips on the bottom of their legs. Most importantly, place anti-slip mats on the bathroom floor to prevent slips and falls.
A few other ways to modify your bathroom include:
- Go for U-shaped, vertical, or angle bars over diagonal bars. The diagonal ones can be slippery for senior citizens.
- Install winged faucet handles that require less hand pressure to operate.
- Keep the toiletries within reach.
- A tension shower rod is always the best for the elderly.
4. A Senior-Friendly Kitchen
Do ensure that all the control options and buttons on kitchen appliances are located in the front, and are easy to read, use and operate.
A wall oven is always a good idea because seniors won’t have to lift heavy items over the heated-up oven door. You can also get microwave drawers.
As far as shelves and storage places are concerned, open shelves and glass cabinet doors are great options because they help to locate and reach for items easily.
Equip your kitchen with a handy fire extinguisher and see to it that flammable objects are stored away from the stove. Make sure the cooking surface is at a lower level and the sink has knee clearance. A raised dishwasher and an automatic stove shut-off device are wise options as well.
The kitchen also needs to be well-lit with the sink and counter-top receiving enough light, and the light switches located at the kitchen entrance.
5. An Accessible Entryway
Your entryway needs to be wide enough, especially if your elders use wheelchairs, so they do not injure themselves due to hazards that are not easy to detect.
Throw-rugs is an absolute no-no and must be replaced with floor runners or rugs that are fastened to the floor surface. No loose objects should be strewn around in the entryway as your senior family member can trip on them.
When modifying your entryway, don’t forget to consider the flooring. It is wise to replace slippery tiles with vinyl or hardwood.
Other things to remember about having an elder-friendly entryway are:
- The path between the driveway and the front door should have no steps.
- Install a wheelchair ramp. This is helpful for both, wheelchair users and those who walk using crutches.
- Don’t place threshold at the entryway so that the transition is a no-step zone.
We all want our senior loved ones to feel safe in our home, and this isn’t tough to accomplish. Whether you’re trying to make your home safer for your own future or keeping the comfort of your parents or elderly family members in mind, the above tips are sure to help you in creating a home that’s perfectly senior-friendly.
Jesse Peralta is the founder of Chimcare, a family owned business in the Pacific Northwest engaged in chimney services. The team is professional in the field, offering expert advice pertaining to a chimney sweep. Also, they have extensive knowledge and expertise in managing and providing services of chimney sweep in Seattle, which include cleaning, repairing other masonry services and more.