How to Make a Home Senior-Friendly
You may need to start preparing your home for ageing parents at some point in your life. From the bedroom to the stairs, house modifications are essential to make houses safe for older adults. There are various factors to consider while renovating your home to make it senior-friendly.
These include kitchen appliances, bathroom fixtures, and several other items. Besides the ideas you come up with, many options are available on the internet to help you create a gorgeous house for your senior loved ones.
We recommend you to watch the following video from the Youtube channel of Caregiver stress that explains how to make a home safer for seniors.
Listed below are five things you can do to make your home more senior-friendly:
1. Make Preparations for Individuals with Limited Mobility
Many older adults struggle with mobility. Whether your parents are slow to move, lack the strength to walk on their own, or have a disability, your home must accommodate them to be senior-friendly. You need to modify these parts of your home:
- Stairs, restrooms, bedrooms, and common spaces
- Door handles throughout the house.
- Door, hallway, and bathroom’s width
- The number of steps to get from one room to another.
Make sure your parents can move around quickly and have the space to do so. You also need to ensure that everything is easily accessible to them.
How far will their bedroom be from the bathroom, for example? Are there many stairs in your house to get to different rooms? Are the kitchen appliances easy to use? Although modifying stairs for seniors can be difficult, you need to consider other options for their mobility, too. You might also need to make additional physical adjustments, such as a wheelchair ramp or stairlift, depending on their level of mobility.
2. Senior-Proof Your Bathrooms
The bathroom is your home’s most dangerous room. They have a lot of slippery surfaces, even before you turn on the shower and fill them with moisture and mist. When caring for ageing parents, the following items are must-haves in the bathroom to be senior-friendly:
- Slip-resistant floorings, such as non-skid bath mats and non-slip strips
- Grab bars in showers and near toilets.
- Showers with fold-down seats or benches
- Adjustable hand-held shower heads with at least six feet of hose
- Better lighting
Remember that all grab bars should be placed with brackets and support up to 300 pounds of weight. Additionally, U-shaped bars are preferable to diagonal ones to avoid slippage. Use only high-quality, durable goods from the hardware shops.
3. Rearrange the Furniture
Changing your furniture arrangement is part of making your home safe for elderly parents. In a house laid out like a maze, your senior parents will have difficulty navigating through it, especially with a wheelchair or walker.
That means rearranging your furniture to give them more room to move around.
Try to move the couches as close to the walls as possible, leaving any end tables on each side. Grab bars or railings should support any high thresholds, and the flooring should be even and slip-resistant. Again, carpets are unsuitable since they might be unsafe for those with limited mobility.
4. Modify Your Kitchen to Be Senior-Friendly
Your kitchen appliances should serve your parents rather than the other way around. Motor skills and hand abilities decline with age. Those stylish new appliances you have may not be suitable for older adults. If possible, opt for appliances with push-button interfaces and easy-to-read settings.
Aside from the appliances, you should also make sure that kitchen items are easily accessible. Your parents should not have to bend, reach, or crouch for anything.
5. Remove Clutters
Ensure that any clutter-causing items have a place, whether you have a pet, children, or a lot of stuff. You don’t want your old parents tripping over dog or kid toys. You also don’t want them wasting energy rummaging through closets or heaps of junk looking for anything they need.
Everyday necessities must always be available at any time. When not in use, you should carefully store everything else. It is also good to keep untrained pets in their separate space.
All that matters is to make them feel at home.
Ultimately, making your senior parents feel more comfortable is vital for preparing your home for them. Integrate your routines as much as possible to make the changeover simpler; you can also use home technologies that help seniors. Please provide them with the freedom to decorate their rooms as they wish, using artwork, family photos, or furniture. It will make them feel more comfortable.
Amazing. This is just what I need since I’m renovating my grandparent’s house. There is one thing I don’t know, though. Do you think it’s a good idea to install a stairlift too? My grandmother uses a wheelchair, and she doesn’t really go upstairs, but I was wondering if I could help her get up there if she wants.
Dear Pete, don’t hesitate that. It’d surely be of benefit to installing it. The elderly go through mood swings, so one day, she may say that she wants to see the upstairs or even move up for some reason. So it’s worth doing it, and you won’t regret it.
I wonder if it’s a good idea to elevate most things in their home. When I go to my granny’s home, I’ve noticed that she sometimes has trouble lifting things or bending to pick things up. But still, it may not be harmful if they make a bit of effort to bend. So any ideas about this?
I know what you mean. Although being active is essential, some seniors cannot walk without assistance, let alone bend and pick up things on their own. I think this highly depends on a person’s condition.
When my grandma used the grab bar we installed near the toilette for the first time, she looked pleased and satisfied with that. The satisfaction came from the comfort of being able to stand up without the help of others. It’s genuinely one of the necessities in the shower and washroom.
Excellent article, but I don’t think it’s always a brilliant idea to rearrange the furniture. It may not work for everyone as it didn’t for my old uncle. He was insistent that nothing should be changed in his home and liked everything to be the way it was, and any slight change could distress him. So it differed from person to person.
One of the best ways is to put yourself in their shoes. For example, going around the house with a walker or wheelchair would be much easier without carpets or many large pieces of furniture if i’s not spacious. Getting help from an internal designer would be of help too.
Has anyone tried toilet frames and grab bars for the bathroom? Do they really work?
I have grab bars, and I can tell you, for sure, that it’s a necessity. They are a must-have for someone with knee problems, but having grab bars installed can prevent you from falling or dizziness even if you don’t have that problem. I don’t have toilet frames, but they also look comfy.
My uncle passed away a couple of years ago; he had knee problems and couldn’t use stairs or even bend down to pick up things. He needed grab bars in the bathroom and also bedrooms. He also renovated his kitchen, removing all cabinets near the ground and having them installed waist up. So yes, their needs should be met.
Is removing clutters only a necessity for a senior-friendly house? I guess that’s not a new point for an old adult but instead, anyone’s home. What about widening doorways for easier passage of walkers and wheelchairs?