With the majority of older adults opting to continue to live at home during aging, it is critical to complete a thorough home assessment and house modification to locate and fix any dangers and make certain the older adults you love remain safe. The best way to accomplish this is to begin outside the home and work your way in, room by room, imagining what the experience would be in each location if you struggled with the typical challenges experienced as we age, such as with vision or balance.
Listed below are several effective house modification ideas to get you started:
- Check sidewalks and other walking areas for uneven pavement, loose bricks, cracks, leaves, along with other debris
- Ensure that the address number, either on the mailbox and/or home itself, is clearly visible in the event emergency responders have to find the home
- If there are stairs or a ramp leading up to the front door, a handrail should be put in on both sides
- Clear away any clutter, cords, and other things that might cause a person to trip
- Utilize a no-trip threshold in the doorway
- Be sure there is ample lighting, and a small table to put packages, a purse, and other items when entering the home
- Keep frequently-used items in easy-to-reach locations
- Make use of Lazy Susans, pull out cabinets, and shelves for better access
- Use touch, sensor, or lever handles rather than knobs that turn
- Set water temperature to no more than 120 degrees F
- Mount grab bars next to the toilet, in the tub/shower, and in any other strategic locations
- Consider a higher toilet, or add a toilet seat riser, along with a shower chair and handheld shower wand
- Always utilize non-slip strips in the bathtub and on the floor, and remove any throw rugs or mats (or ensure they are safely fastened to the floor)
- Place nightlights in the bedroom as well as in the hallway leading to the bathroom
- Clear away any obstacles between the bed and doorway, and any other areas in the room where the senior may move around
- Replace throw rugs with carpeting
Throughout the house, make sure walkways are clear and large enough to accommodate a wheelchair or walker. It’s also important to put in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, testing them routinely and changing batteries at least every six months.
And consider an emergency response pendant for the senior to wear that can be activated to call for help in case of a fall or any other emergencies.
Above all, partner with an established and reliable provider of home care, like Hearts at Home In-Home Care. We are available to perform a home safety assessment and recommend additional measures that can be taken to make sure your loved one remains safe, as well as provide a variety of in-home care services, customized to each individual’s distinct needs.