23 House Modifications For Elderly
Many elderly people always appreciate the fact that there are good amenities and an easy going lifestyle. After retirement, most of the elderly people prefer to stay in their own homes. They prefer this because living in their own homes to them is cheaper, comfortable and peaceful. As such these people should reside in homes where they are safer. In order to achieve this, house modifications for elderly have to be done in these homes in order to keep the elderly from accidents while at home. These modifications include the following:
1. Opening up space in the rooms
Allowing more space in the room is good and is of great importance to the aged, or rather the elderly. One should always make sure that there are pathways, which should be very clear with enough space to walk in without knocking oneself on anything, or bumping on any object while moving. This should be done in those rooms that are commonly used like the bed room or even the sitting room. Unnecessary equipment, including tables and chairs should be removed so that the house is spacious enough to facilitate the movement of the elderly in the house. Remove anything that’s a trip hazard.
2. Adding extra lighting
A proper survey should be done on the house to be modified in order to determine those darker places that need more lightening for proper visibility. As the seniors advance in age, they encounter vision problems. In any case there are places in the house with poor lighting, they might not be able to see well, or find something in case they are looking for it. Such places as drawers, cabinets, staircases and corridors should be lightened by buying stick-on lights or bulbs for them to be visible and give the elderly easy time.
3. Installation of an elevated toilet seat
Most of the elderly people are always faced with challenges when it comes to sitting down or getting up. They really find it hard as some of the elderly people may have mobility problems. When an elevated toilet seat is installed in the house, they get an easy time when it comes to toileting.
4. Adding levered door handles
As people advance in age, at times they get affected by old age sicknesses such as arthritis. In such cases, their muscles may become weaker, especially the muscles of the hands. As a result, activities such as opening doors, turning water taps may become a very big problem to them. Adding levered handles to doors can really make their work easier. For example, if an individual has arthritis and the door handle is levered, he or she will be able to open the door with much ease.
5. Installing a doorbell and smoke detector with lights
Elderly people’s hearing ability may start failing as their ages advance. They may have hearing problems such that they may fail to hear even if a person is knocking the door. With the installation of a doorbell and a smoke detector with lights, they will know when someone is at the door. More importantly, they will be able to update your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms with models that add lights or even the bed shaker attachments so that they are be adequately warned in case of a fire or carbon monoxide leak.
6. Installing grab bars
As people get older, keeping balance becomes very difficult. Having grab bars in various places around your house; both inside and outside the house can be of great help as it aids the elderly in catching them so that they don’t fall down. The most common spots or places where grab bars should be installed include; the bathroom, hallway, and next to one’s bed Widen your doorways.
7. Adding stair lifts
Stair lifts are expensive but if the seniors have stairs at home and can no longer walk upstairs and downstairs comfortably and safely, then it’s very important to add a stair lift in case the house is a storey building. If facilitates the movement of the elderly hence making work easy.
8. Installing a walk-in tub
Getting inside and outside the tub is one of the most problematic and dangerous tasks the elderly are faced with when their ages advance and they start developing balance and mobility problems. Like a stair lift, a walk-in tub is a pretty costly addition to your home, but one that can increase the comfort and safety of bathing significantly.
9. Installing wheelchair ramps
Any aged person who has mobility problems and uses a wheelchair should have wheelchair ramps installed around the house. . Wheelchair ramps won’t become necessary for all the elderly people, but instead they are very useful for those individuals who do need them they’ll make all the difference in being able to stay in one’s own home.
While some of these home adjustments like the wheelchair ramps seem to be expensive, they can help a person to save money overall in comparison to the cost of health expenses that are associated with a fall or a nursing home. And most importantly, a person’s safety, especially the elderly has to be one of the concerns as one ages.
10. Getting a clapper
One of the modest things that significantly increases the risk of falling down is walking anywhere in the house without any light on. If the light switches are not suitably located enough, walking in darkness could become a regular incident.
The Clapper makes it easy for an individual to turn on the lights without necessarily getting up from one’s seat by merely making a loud noise. It may seem a little bit complicated, but there are a number of products like their Echo, which can be hooked up in one’s home to make such things as turning on the lights and changing the regulator all possible to do just by voice.
11. Installing a bathroom lamp
It may be so difficult for the elderly to get inside and outside a tub and conduct all the business they need to do in a bathroom. This can really take much of their time. Doing a replacement of the overhead light above the toilet as well as the bath tub with a light that has infrared bulb and a regular bulb helps in keeping the bathroom warmer hence very comfortable for use among the elderly.
12. Replacing the faucets
Touch less faucets are very helpful to the elderly when placed on both kitchen sinks and bathroom sinks, especially those individuals suffering from conditions like arthritis or grip problems. The twist faucet handles can also be replaced with levers. Faucets can also be upgraded by installing an anti-scald faucet in the bath tub or on the shower. The anti-scald faucets prevent bursts of cold water if at all the cold water is temporarily redirected as a result of flashing of the toilet. Scalding can also be prevented by lowering the maximum temperature of water to about one hundred and twenty degree Celsius.
13. Updating the floor
Floor can be the cause of many falls as a person advances in age. A carpet should be placed on the floor and this carpet should not be more a half an inch thick. On top of that, the bathroom floor should be anti-slip, meaning it should be resistant to slipping to prevent the elderly from slipping and getting injuries.
14. Adding a first floor laundry
Elderly people with mobility issues cannot go upstairs and downstairs each and every time they need to do a laundry. The addition of a first floor laundry is of great importance as in the case of a first floor bedroom. This can be achieved by converting a den or a closet into a laundry area.
15. Installation of a rocker-style light switches
Rocker style switches are also known as the push light switches. They are so easy to use as compared to the usual toggle flip switches. They are large in size hence the efficiency in sue since they do not require more effort to use. As such the elderly find it so easy to use such switches.
16. Eliminating cords to reduce trips and falls
Not only are excess cords unsightly, but they can also pose a serious tripping hazard. Reorganize the electronics in the living room to minimize the space between the device and the electrical outlet so that the cords are contained in as small a space as possible. If this is not an option, secure the cords as close to the wall as possible using electrical tape. Avoid letting any cords cross doorways or walkways, and replace the tape as often as needed to ensure the cords stay securely in place. To reduce fire hazards, minimize the number of cords you plug into any one outlet and secure multiple cords with Velcro straps to keep them organized.
17. Equipping stairs with firmly attached handrails
If you have stairs indoors or outside, handrails should be firmly attached and run the entire length of the staircase. Consider adding a reflective strip to each step where appropriate.
18. Installing a home security/monitoring system
Because senior citizens are more vulnerable to home invasions, a monitored home security system is a wise investment for any home where an elderly person lives alone. These systems are monitored by a professional service at all times. If the system senses a problem, it alerts the monitoring company, which then contacts the appropriate authorities. This way the resident won’t have to worry about making the call themselves.
Additional security devices can make life safer and more convenient. A bio metric lock on the front door makes it harder for criminals to enter and eliminates the need for the resident to fumble around with keys. A video doorbell lets the resident see and talk with a visitor before opening the door.
If your loved one needs a little extra attention, installing an activity monitoring system will let you keep an eye on them from wherever you are. This type of system provides video monitoring as well as information about the use of appliances, doors, and other home features to help you spot behavioral changes that might signal a developing medical issue
19. Adding swing-clear door hinges
Narrow doorways could be difficult for walkers and wheelchairs to navigate. Replacing standard hinges with ‘swing clear hinges’ allows the door to swing completely clear of the door opening. This can add an extra 1.5 to 2” of clearance without widening the doorway.
20. Installation of a pull-out pantry
Because it lets you see everything at a glance without having to shuffle items around, homeowners of all ages will find a pull-out pantry useful. But besides being convenient, drawers that give you easy access to your canned goods and cereal boxes also put less strain on your back and knees. You can even use the pull-outs to store heavy portable appliances, such as blenders, slow cookers and toasters
21. Adjusting the height of sink to suit the needs
Adjusting the height and/or location of the sink to suit your needs can really impact your experience in the kitchen. You can also add a roll-under sink so those that are wheelchair bound can use it. There are motorized, adjustable height counters/sinks available, which can go from a standard height to something more accessible by someone who is in a wheelchair. A local cabinet maker or Certified Aging in Place Specialist can help you find a solution right for you
22. Adding grabs to bathroom
Adding grab bars to the bathroom can also help prevent falls. While it’s easy to install simple stick-on or suction cup bars, you should never trust these bars to hold a person’s body weight. Grab bars need to be properly installed into the studs of the wall so they can handle the weight of a person. If you’re not sure how to do this yourself, having grab bars installed professionally is your best choice for the safety of your loved one. Other places in your home where you may want to install grab bars include next to the bed and in the hallway
23. Installation of a removable shower head
You may also want to consider a removable shower head, so you can move it around and wash more easily. These shower heads have a hose that hooks into where the shower head would normally be, with the actual spray and adjustments are on the other end. Since you can move this around to where you need it and change the spray type and strength, it’s easier to wash and get clean while still being comfortable and safe. These are also easier to replace at a later date if necessary. They also aren’t generally expensive options, so they can be done on a budget as you work to remodel your space
Safety is always an issue of concern for the elderly people, whether they are living independently or under their children’s care. At first a look, the home environment may not appear like a predominantly dangerous place. There are a lot of unseen risks for the elderly person around the home, from uneven thresholds to slippery floors, that can cause slips and falls to poor lighting conditions and clutter that can make the home environment so difficult to stay in for the elderly people who have mobility problems.