Age-Friendly Home Remodeling Tips
Although there are many senior homes and communities for the elderly to move into, most seniors still decide to stay in their own home and take care of themselves for as long as they possibly can. However, not many of them have thought this through carefully enough. In order for them to stay safe inside their own home while going through physical and mental changes that their age is bringing, it’s necessary to do some remodeling and adjust their living space to their needs. Here are some tips on how to do this.
Reconsider the stairs
At a certain point climbing up and down stairs becomes too difficult, making this one of the first issues to address in a home of an elderly person. In case it’s only a short set of steps, it will probably suffice to add a ramp with a handhold, but if it’s a two-floor house or an apartment building, perhaps a better idea would be to install an elevator. If that there isn’t enough room for a standard elevator, or even a smaller one, there are also several versions of stair lifts that you can choose from, so make sure you get all the relevant information before you make any decisions.
Find place for a guest room
This is one of the changes you should make to give your elderly relative some peace of mind and to make them more cheerful. Unfortunately, many elderly people are lonely, which can even lead to depression, so having guests and somebody to talk to will always cheer them up. If there’s a room for such guests in their home, it provides them with an option to spend a few days with their aging host. The room doesn’t have to be too elaborately decorated. A comfortable bed, a cupboard or two, a chair and a table will do. Add an oil burner and some natural scented soy melts to make the place warmer, more inviting, but also fresher. And if at any point the elderly person needs a professional caregiver, this room can prove to be a very practical asset.
Replace the doorknobs
When an elderly person’s mobility is decreased or they suffer from arthritis, the common round doorknobs can prove to be very difficult to handle. The lever-style ones can be easier for them to use, so consider replacing the regular doorknobs for those. Similarly, you should switch the round faucet knobs with the lever ones as well, to give the person more independence and make everyday life a bit less complicated for them.
Change the flooring
When it comes to flooring in an aged person’s home, there are some things you should definitely avoid. The most dangerous one is slippery flooring, which can easily cause an accident and a serious injury. When renovating their home, remove any tiles that are too smooth and polished. In case changing the flooring is too much of an investment, make sure you add rugs to the slick areas of the floor, to create some traction. If your loved one is in a wheelchair, then you should either install hardwood or laminate flooring, or cover the floors with vinyl tiles. If you opt for carpeting the floors, make sure that the pile length is as low as possible and that the carpets get firmly attached to the surface underneath it.
Install automatic lights
Another way to prevent an aged person from falling or bumping into something and hurting themselves is by installing automatic lights. These can have a timer to switch them on or off in accordance with your loved one’s habits, or they can even be controlled through an app on their smartphone, so that they don’t have to look for the light switch in the dark. Also, it might help to add a few more lighting fixtures to make moving around in the evening easier and safer for them.
There are always ways to improve an aged loved one’s quality of life, and remodeling their home to fit their needs is one of them. However, don’t forget about their mental health and don’t let them feel lonely and forgotten. Visit them frequently or hire somebody to keep them company and help them with whatever they need.
Guest Contributor, Diana Smith