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23 House Modifications For Elderly

Introduction

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 handleslever door knobs

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 faucetskitchen faucet

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

Conclusion

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Best lighting for elderly

Many lighting standards do not consider the needs of the elderly and are based on younger people in the 20 to 30 year age group. Increasing light is a safety measure toward safeguarding the independence of the elderly in their later years  at their houses. Something which should be passionately done. Establishing good consultative relationships with the experienced science sector and frequent collaboration with the healthcare sector enable us to make better choices when we go for lookout to facilitate installation of lighting systems for our loved ones as they age. Scientific evaluations support our decisions.

Eyesight  power reduction resulting from aging has consequences that far reach independence. The victims of eyesight  tend to be very quick in becoming  anxious and have  increased insecurity feeling about moving around. Light cannot correct  weakening eyesight, but when available ;compensates and helps restore self-confidence. Proper lighting helps prevent  visual missteps and prevent falls. Sophisticated lighting design helps to strengthen the feeling of security and increases confidence of the people living in the house when moving about. Elderly people are  free and enthusiastically manage to enjoy a more active involvement in their living environment. Below are some tips showing the better ways of designing lighting in house of the seniors. With a few adjustments, seniors are in good position to see better, afford a safe indoor  and more independent lives.

How Seniors Eyes Change as They Age

Medical science has done a lot of research about the changes to that occur to the vision ability as people get older: Proven Lighting For Seniors | 17 Improvements

Colors distort – Anyone’s eye lenses begin to yellow and absorbs a higher amount of blue wavelength light, creating distorted colors. As people grow older, it becomes a great task for them to differentiate between Green and Blue and blues start to look gray?

Harder to focus – senior eye lenses will also harden and become more rigid, so the senior eyes don’t focus as quickly or accurately as they used to before and at younger age.

Less light gets in -senior eyes pupils get smaller and  allows in less light. The older they are getting the more serious this problem becomes. By the time they reach 80, they need 6 times more light than as they were in their youth ages.

Light scatters –  The eye  corneas become more opaque and very minimal light is allowed in. This raises concern for better lighting in their residential areas. Fat deposits scatter the light, making it harder to recognize familiar objects.

Slower to adjust – eyes’ ciliary muscles weaken and an increased rigidity and hardening of the lens reduce their ability to focus and to adjust to different levels of light with ease.

How Much More Light do Elderly Eyes Need?

Elderly people need more light and are much more sensitive to glare. They therefore need plenty of lighting and as well shielded so as to manage the cases of glare.

17 Proven Lighting Improvements For Seniors

1. Seniors Need More cooler Lights

Using  the incandescent lights in the house of the elderly, makes them uncomfortable because they are warmer lights. Cooler lights tend to be more bright. Installing the cooler light will help the elderly be In a position to read and differentiate different colors.

2. Use light with less contrast.

Eyes of an aging person have very low ability to manage a contrasting light and are very slow in detecting and adapting to changes in lighting. Ambient lighting is more safer  when installed on areas such as stairways and hallway. Objects fixed within the living environment, causing contrast to the lighting may cause destruction and  attract possibilities of accidents to the elderly. Lighting from outside might outdo the lighting inside the house in terms of brightness and this should be managed by installation of  higher level  illumination to reduce the struggle of the elderly to cope with light changes.

3. Elderly Need More Task Light

Dimmable pendants or chandeliers in the dining room are suitable for a delightful illumination to ease eating and other activities. Reading light controls should be fixed within areas where this seniors can afford to reach without struggling. Good lighting in areas such as kitchen helps easy preparation of meals.

4. Make Task Lighting as Adjustable as Possible

Availability of light intensity, location and direction adjustment options, to the elderly is an added advantage because they are able to perform their activities with ease. Installation of multiple bulbs can be more safer than using only a single bulb with high level of illumination.

5. Use Indoor Lighting That Mimics Nature’s Patterns

Considering  installing a lighting devices that are auto in their functioning, That is, their brightness will always match the nature. Brighter during the day and deem and slight warm light in the evening. That pattern will help  aid the Natural circadian rhythm.

6. Use Dimming Controls

Dimmers are nice for controlling the level of illumination depending on the time of the day following the high sensitivity of older people’s eyes to lighting.

7. Use scene controls

The automation of lighting control, whereby multiple bulbs can be controlled by a single object such as smart phone has been improvised and is there in the technology. Installing this modern lighting technology to the house of the elderly can be so comfortable  for their stay. Availability of LED lights and LED dimmer lights  makes it possible to adjust the color of lighting too. It might seem so expensive and time consuming to consider this option but once the environment is well lit, the comfort of living in there becomes something to admire.

8. Seniors Benefit From More Light

Due to the reduced power of the eyes of the aging people, there is need for increased lighting in their residence. This is to allow and help them maintain the range of view they used to have . They also spend more time at home and therefore, their houses need to have lights to enable them see.

9. Indoor Lighting Contributes to Safety and Independent Living

Availing the ambient light which is a nice lighting for aiding navigation in the house is a cool idea regarding the elderly. While in their rooms, th6 elderly sometimes engage themselves to certain activities which need aid in lighting. This therefore calls for consideration of installing bright task light.

10. Make Lighting Switches Accessible

Consider making accessible light switches where they  can be easily reached by the elderly in case of emergency.

11. Bathroom lighting

Provision of light in the bathrooms is more safer to avoid accidents and falls. Most bathrooms are covered with shiny surfaces. For the aged, this is not such favorable and you should consider establishing vanities which are set pointing upside to avoid direct light. Abundant and sufficient lighting in the bathrooms if more advisable to improve the vision of the seniors.

12. Opaque shade fixturesProven Lighting For Seniors | 17 Improvements

This helps disperse the light to aid reduce glare. Fabric and glass are best suit for glare free shades. Which are in good position to conceal direct line of light from the bulb.

13. Installation of lampshade

Fitting lampshades helps in reducing the direct line of sight to the lighting bulb. Should always be on the lookout to facilitate installation of lampshades to safeguard the seniors from direct lights from the bulb to their eyes.

14. Avoid over-using recessed

Recessed are cool and more appealing in the house as they are more technical out of their layer lighting in rooms. This is only when they are the only option for the illumination in the house. For the seniors, they cause shadows which can make activities seem hard and more dangerous to be undertaken.

15. Consider lighting up the walls

Dark walls are known to absorb light compared to the white walls. It’s therefore advisable to improve the wall painting and repaint it white to avoid glare. Also the ceiling should have a reflecting painting of approximately 80-90 reflective value. This will improve the brightness of the lighting inside the house.

16. Prominent switch boards

The switchboard always get out of our attention but they are quite important for superb lighting. Make sure the switchboards are accessible to older people, especially if they are crippled or disabled walking using wheelchairs .You don’t want them stumbling in the dark looking for switches and getting hurt in the process. The switchboards must be in their areas of reach so that they can easily reach them.

17. Increased sunlight

The best source of lighting is natural light that is sunlight. Make sure you open all the curtains and blinds during the day, especially in the senior’s room. This natural lighting  is better than artificially installed lights. To increase the amount of lighting, you can increase the number of windows. Make them larger and install screen doors.

Emergency lighting for the elderly mounted close to the floor would better direct residents to safety.  The same is true for night time lighting the path to the bathroom.

Visual comfort being so essential, large diffused sources are more preferable rather than point sources.

Embrace Layers

Since it is difficult to increase light levels to a certain degree of satisfaction from single lighting source, you should consider installation of many layers of light up to maximum of your ability. Think of wall sconces, light valences, recessed lights, ceiling lights and portables.  It’s very difficult to get satisfactory lighting only from lamps alone, it’s therefore a very encouraging act to accommodate this other lighting sources.

Check the wattage limits

Confirm whether it’s possible to increase the wattage of your fixtures . In case of possibilities , look for a new bulbs, being careful not to exceed  the maximum wattage of the fixtures in the house. Assuming your fixture maximum is 60 watts and you already have 60w incandescent bulbs installed. It’s advisable to use 2 Compact Fluorescent (CFL) or Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs because a 15 watt CFL or a 10 watt LED will give you the same light as a 60 watt incandescent bulb.  Although they are not suited for every situation, using them you can get up to 4 times more light by switching to CFL and 6 times more light by changing to LED.

Outdoor lights

Make sure quality task lighting is sufficient in the seniors working area . In cold climate consider using LED only if you frequently visit your garage or incandescent may be more favorable in case the visits to the garage are common.  For elderly secure footing, the outdoor lighting is very essential for their eyes. Enough light should be enhanced by the entrances and exits for the safety of the elderly.

Kitchen lighting

Kitchens require a combination of ambient and task lighting with a control installed at the kitchen door place. The control should be made in such a way it can facilitate general control of the lighting in the kitchen. They should have a specialized low level of light during the night.

Every area should have additional ambient illumination to the task lighting. This helps improve the transmittance of the seniors’ eyes.

Touch lamps

The elderly tend to lose their flexibility of movement and strength. This makes it difficult to adjust and operate regular lamp knobs which are either fitted on the wall. It will be therefore easy for the seniors to use lights which are operated simply by touching. Improving the lamps for the seniors is more favorable for their easy  and comfortable stay.

Conclusions

Human eye ability declines from 100% at 25 to 25% at age 70 therefore elderly people need much more light to be able to see clearly to perform basic tasks. The aging have to be given the best quality of life that good designing of their living environment has to offer. This includes lighting with favorable features to recommended practice. Good lighting for senior facilities alleviate vision issues that can occur with aging, supporting visual accuracy as well improving their ability to manage brightness and color contrast. I hope the above points have helped you to understand how sensitive proper lighting is for seniors. Houses installed with proper lighting and spaces will enable them to perform their tasks with ease and also reduces their chance of falling and getting injured. You can get even re-consider getting different types of lighting from your local store.

 

 

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