Monday, June 24, 2024

Practical Elderly Home Modification Tips for Enhanced Comfort and Accessibility

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Jillian Castillo
Jillian Castillo
"Proud thinker. Tv fanatic. Communicator. Evil student. Food junkie. Passionate coffee geek. Award-winning alcohol advocate."

Aging in place is preferred by most adults and can bring about a multitude of advantages, such as the ability to maintain dignity and independence. Proximity to older children is a source of support. It can’t be very comforting to consider aging in one’s home if it wasn’t designed for long-term care, but there are numerous options, both temporary and permanent, to continue staying in the comfort of one’s home for as long as possible. Home modifications help keep the existing residence comfortable and accessible so older people can withstand the challenges of aging, like impaired vision, mobility, and frailty, to name a few.

Specific changes are essential for keeping seniors safe. You can make a few changes around the home, such as:

Replace The Carpet with Flooring That’s Safer

Loose, unsecured carpets are the number one cause of trips and falls, leading to unintentional injury among adults aged 65 years or older. Bumps and waves in the carpeted area can also be a threat to the safety of pedestrians. There may be style-based reasons for keeping the carpet, but it’s better to part with the all-floor covering, especially if there’s high traffic or a wheelchair in use. Selecting a flooring material for a person who wants to age in their home isn’t complicated at all, you just have to prioritize slip-resistance, ease of travel, cleaning and maintenance, comfort, and cushion. Wood flooring, for instance, doesn’t get as dirty, and you can confidently step out of the shower.

Buy And Install a Stairlift

A stairlift has a lower price tag, not to mention that it can be installed faster than an elevator. Additionally, it’s a good option if you don’t want to renovate much. The stairs represent a challenge to those who have reduced mobility or use a wheelchair, a constant barrier to living any semblance of a normal life. Stairlifts have become a common feature in homes around Canada that require climbing up and down the stairs to access all levels. Not everyone can manage this movement. There are common conditions in people aged 60 years or older that can contribute to mobility issues, such as joint problems, muscle weakness, and neurological difficulties.

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Problems with vision can add to the difficulty seniors experience when going up or down the stairs. Compared to other age groups, the elderly are the most prone to injury because they have less energy and aren’t as strong as they once were. One of the most considerable changes to get used to is using a wheelchair. Ascending and descending the stairs is always a headache unless there’s a stairlift. The price of a stairlift Canada depends on its features, such as the user’s needs and the length of the staircase. Most people can operate a stairlift, but it’s critical to have the mobility required to get in and out of the chair safely.

Lower Cabinets and Countertops

For aging in place, a useful rule of thumb is to customize the kitchen space, as accessing parts of the home can be problematic. Home repairs for seniors should include modifications to the cabinets and countertops. More exactly, you can lower or even eliminate the upper cabinets to have things close at hand – it’s no longer necessary to lift one’s arms or climb on the countertop to reach the tallest shelves. Think about having the kitchen counters at a lower level to prevent fall injuries and modifying the corners to have rounded edges to prevent bruises. This way, your loved one can safely and easily move around in the kitchen throughout their golden years.

Widen The Doorways and Hallways

Indeed, each person is different and requires singular solutions to their needs, but certain in-place additions can benefit everyone. Widening the doorways and hallways is one such example; they’re too dangerous. A senior with mobility issues risks becoming trapped if a fire breaks out since the hallway doors aren’t wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair. There’s barely enough room to fit one person. Equally, you never know when a medical emergency arises, so ensure practitioners have easy access so your loved ones get the medical attention they need. A wider doorway or hallway can let in light and give the home a more open feel, better accommodating someone in a wheelchair.

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Elevate The Height of The Toilet

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the elderly and people with mobility issues find it difficult, if not impossible, to sit down and stand up from a toilet. Managing toileting activities is a personal task, and being safe while using one shouldn’t be taken for granted. Toilet seats don’t have secure tighteners, meaning they’re not suitable for people with poor balance or a tendency to squat/plop when sitting because they can cause a fall. Toilets with seats that are higher off the floor are vital for maintaining safety and independence.

Some seniors might need to rely on a stool to get up to the seat or to support their feet while the toilet is in use. But generally speaking, a tall toilet translates into less effort getting on and off the seat, which can be beneficial for people struggling with leg, hip, knee, joint, or back problems. The solution is to raise the height of the seat to reduce the distance, which results in less stress on the body. You can install a toilet seat riser, add a toilet frame over the seat, or replace the existing toilet with a taller one.

The Takeaway

Many Canadians want to age in place in their own homes and communities, as they have the health and social support they need to live safely and independently. If your elderly parents can’t take care of their basic needs or you’re looking after an aging loved one at home, you’ll want to think about making a couple of changes to the place. There are practical changes like the ones highlighted earlier, but it’s important to form your own ideas. Not only can you prevent injury leading to a loss of independence but you can also prevent admission to an assisted living facility.

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