As we get older, we may need home modifications to continue activities of daily living. There are many ways home improvements for aging-in-place can make living spaces more functional for Senior Citizens’ everyday life. For example, ramps and wide doorways allow access for walkers and wheelchairs. A well-adapted home is accessible to all generations.
How can I make my home elderly accessible?
It’s essential to make your home as accessible as possible, especially when you have an elderly parent living with you or visiting often. Home modifications can be simple as removing rugs, installing grab bars, and using brighter light bulbs. However, some projects are more complex, like installing chair lifts, widening doorways, and constructing ramps.
Home Improvements for Aging-in-Place
The main idea with flooring is creating better traction and reducing trip and fall hazards. So, get rid of loose items like throw rugs. Check carpets for unsecured edges and bumpy areas. Also, use slip-resistant rugs to create better traction on floors. You can also install high-traction flooring such as natural stone or slip-resistant vinyl.
Getting from one place to another is crucial for aging-in-place. For example, zero-threshold entryways make moving from room to room easier. You can also exchange knobs for lever handles. In some homes, hallways and doors need to be widened to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers.
Vision in low light is a problem for many Older Adults. Switching to bright LED light bulbs goes a long way. Walk through the house at night and look for areas of shadows. Adjust the lighting and add lamps and nightlights as needed. Proper illumination is vital in hallways, stairs, and bathrooms. In some cases, you may need an electrician to move the switches for easier reach.
Kitchen Modifications for Senior Citizens
Cooking and cleaning independently is a crucial aspect of aging-in-place. A senior-friendly kitchen lets Older Adults take care of themselves better.
- Store daily-used items in easy reach
- Use lazy susans to access the back of the cabinets.
- Switch to wider pull bars instead of drawer knobs.
- Install appliances with easy-touch controls with clear and bold labels.
- Use pedal-controlled or lever faucets
- Add under cabinet lighting
- Remove cabinets under counters for wheelchair access
Bathroom Upgrade for Senior Citizens
Many household accidents happen in the bathroom. Activities in the bathroom involve bending and moving, which is difficult for people with mobility issues. Wet, slippery surfaces make matters even worse.
- Install grab bars near the toilet
- Place a waterproof seat in the shower
- Put non-slip tape on the floor
- Set the water heater to a maximum of 120 degrees Fahrenheit
- Use a high-profile raised toilet
Exterior Home Improvements for Aging-in-Place
Outside the home is as important as inside. Senior Citizens need to be able to come and go freely without hazards.
- Repair cracked and uneven pavement
- Construct ramps for wheelchairs and walkers
- Install exterior illumination with motion sensors
- Clear debris and keep a well-maintained yard to prevent hazards
- Cover gutters to reduce the need for routine cleaning
- Use raised garden beds for easy reach
- Replace decking with no-maintenance composite lumber
Resources for Aging-in-Place
There are resources available to help pay for home improvements for Senior Citizens. The New Jersey Division of Aging and Community Services can allocate small grants for home modifications through the Older American Act. Contact your county’s Area Agency on Aging to learn more.
Another way to safely age-in-place is with in-home care. Antia’s Angels, Inc. offers hourly and round-the-clock care with CHHHAs. We are Families Helping Families. Learn how our family can help yours—call 908-788-9390.