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2018-04-19 10:58:31
How To Make Your Home Senior Friendly by Teresa Greenhill

Granny, Elder, Flower, Senior, Elderly, Grandmother

Photo credit by Pixabay

A major concern as people age in their homes is injury. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year 2.8 million older people are treated in emergency rooms for injuries sustained in a fall. About 300,000 older adults are hospitalized for hip fractures.

One of the most important ways to prevent these injuries is to upgrade your home to be senior-friendly. There are many considerations in making your current home ready for aging in place, including financing and determining which areas are critical to upgrade.

Financing

There are several funding sources available to help finance home modifications for senior living. They include federal and state programs, nonprofit organizations, organizations for veterans and more. Each has its own requirements and rules about coverage. Read more about financing this type of home modification at Paying For Senior Care’s guide.

Let’s learn about the most critical home upgrades.

Bathrooms

This is one of the most common areas for accidents and injuries in the home, across all age groups. To create a senior-friendly bathroom, you want to ensure that no one can slip especially around porcelain fixtures. However, you also have to ensure that tubs and showers are accessible. Take these measures:

  • Install a walk-in bathtub. Having a door makes bathtubs accessible for people who cannot lift their legs.
  • Create a curbless shower. This means there is no step at the shower’s threshold, not even the short frame at the bottom of a shower door. When installing one of these showers, make sure that there is no leakage. Learn more about installing a curbless shower in this article from Huffington Post.
  • Both shower and tub should have a ledge or seat so you don’t need to stand or sit way down on at floor level. You should also install grab bars or rails for added safety.
  • The Senior List also recommends raising the height of the toilet bowl, getting a sprayer attachment for showerheads, and installing lever faucets for ease of use.

Hallways and Entryways

Navigating hallways and entryways can be challenging. Make these accessibility upgrades:

  • Make sure hallways are lit with automatic night lights, which will assist in navigating your home in the dark.
  • No-step thresholds in entryways and hallways ensure smooth, flat flooring between rooms so you can easily navigate with a cane or walker.
  • Widen hallways, entryways and doorways to accommodate wheelchairs and other devices.
  • Entryways should also have helpful areas where you can put down your packages as soon as you are inside.
  • SeniorLiving.com recommends having at least one covered entryway for when you arrive home in inclement weather, allowing you to stay dry while unlocking the door.

 

 

Kitchen Upgrades

The flow of the kitchen and height of the appliances is very important for seniors using canes, walkers, and wheelchairs. Here are some upgrade tips for this room:

  • Wide open spaces with clear accessibility to appliances are important. For wheelchair users, sinks, appliances and countertops should be low enough to access.
  • Buy the right refrigerator. You can buy a model with the freezer on the bottom and side-by side doors for easy accessibility. Other features you should look for include bright internal lighting, clear displays with large letters and increased storage.
  • You can install pull down and/or pull out shelves in cabinets and upgrade to handles that make them easier to open. See more ideas for kitchen upgrades at Age in Place.
  • If there is space, allow for an island or nook so you can eat in the kitchen and do not have to transport food to another room.

Updating a home to be senior-friendly is worth the investment. Reducing falls and other accident risks will improve quality of life and allow you to remain in your home much longer.

Teresa Greenhill

 

 
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