Help your loved one keep their independence through home safety modifications
While many seniors appreciate living in assisted living communities, your loved one does not necessarily have to move just because they’re older and need extra help. Most older adults prefer to age in place in their lifelong homes and familiar neighborhoods. California Department of Aging states two-thirds of older adults said that they would have been able to stay with their living situation and remain more independent if they made modifications to their home. Home modifications allow for aging in place to be possible for seniors with disabilities or those who need extra assistance. According to research by the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, home modifications and repairs could prevent up to 50% of all home accidents among seniors, including falls that take place in older homes. You can protect your loved one’s safety while allowing them to keep their independence by making some changes around the home.
Your loved one can easily adapt as they change with age through home modifications that increase accessibility. The following modifications can make things at home easier and safer to access:
- Lower heights of appliances– high heights of appliances such as light switches and the microwave can be difficult for some older adults to reach due to decreased mobility. Placing light switches, electrical outlets, and countertops at lower heights can help them reach easily and safely.
- Changes to the shower and bathtub– Replacing your loved one’s bathtub with a walk-in shower or tub can help them have a safer and easier entry and exit. However, if your loved one wants to keep their existing tub, they can make less expensive changes such as installing a safety bar, transfer bench, or safety strips to prevent trips and falls.
- Assistive seating– Investing in an electric or self-powered lifting seat can help your loved one get a comfortable lift from wherever they are sitting by slowly tilting them into a standing position. It is also often wrapped in thick memory foam which helps them stay comfortable sitting on their couch, office chair, or favorite armchair for hours. Assistive seating not only makes your loved one more comfortable in their home, it as well helps maintain their independence through being the hand they need to get up.
- Smart home devices– Several devices can provide the assistance and accessibility your loved one needs to remain independent. Voice-controlled devices such as Alexa and Google Home allow for easier access to automated lighting, reminders for medication and appointments, access to media, calling friends, and easy ordering of groceries and household products as they run out. Some devices can be connected to your loved one’s Alexa or smartphone for assistance. Your loved one can get an independence booster through smart lighting such as automatic lighting and scheduled lighting. For their safety, smart doorbells can help deter predators through video monitoring and customized ringtones.
The following home modifications are universally designed which allows accessibility for all with no sacrifice in style.
- Slip Resistant Flooring– Eliminate potential hazards that could cause trips or falls. Evaluate the home’s existing floors and look out for rugs and shaggy carpeting that could be tripping hazards.
- Abundant lighting– As eyesight can tend to decline with age, adding more lighting is necessary so your loved one can see clearly and avoid safety hazards.
- Open plans– Moving clutter and clearing the space in your loved one’s home allows for easier mobility and open circulation.
Visitability home modifications have features that make it easier for those who use a wheelchair or any other mobility device to move around the home. This can be done through the following changes:
- Widen doorways– If your loved one uses a wheelchair, widening doorways is necessary so they can easily move through.
- Install ramps– Outdoor and indoor ramps allow for those who use mobility devices to easily move from one place to another especially if there are stairs around the house. These can be built by licensed contractors but it is also possible to install non-permanent ramps yourself.
- Clear spaces for wheelchairs– Your loved one can avoid tripping hazards and move easily with their mobility device if their space is as clear from clutter as possible.
Your loved one can hold their independence as long as possible by adjusting their home to meet their needs. As they face changes with age, multiple home modifications can help them continue to enjoy living in their home. Through improving accessibility, universal design, and visitability your loved one can be safe and live with ease.
1 +1 is a referral agency that works for clients and caregivers. We match caregivers with clients and inform them of your requirements. We work for you so you and your loved one can have a safe, enjoyable caregiving experience.