Maintaining Your Home for Seniors in 5 Simple Steps
The ongoing pandemic and economic crisis have forced several extended families to share a home. Although many seniors have been completely cut off from their loved ones, others have moved in with their families due to job losses and unsafe conditions. If you have an older loved one moving into your home, it’s essential to make adjustments or renovations to your house in order to provide a safe living area for seniors. Depending on the layout of your property, you may only need to make minor repairs, and most safety projects are inexpensive and straightforward to perform. The following sections examine the necessary steps to maintaining a safe home for aging adults.
Modify the Bathrooms
The first area to focus your attention on is the bathroom. Although many of the problems seniors experience in bathrooms are avoidable, more accidents and fatalities occur in restrooms than any other room in the house. Slick tile floors, scalding bathwater, low toilets and inaccessible showers are only some of the hazards that may harm older adults. To avoid falls on slippery tile floors, you can install rubber mats that provide traction. Be sure to secure the mats to the tile. A rolled-up mat can trip someone and cause a fall. Another severe hazard is water temperature. Adjust your water heater’s thermostat so that it cannot exceed 120°F. If you’re unsure if your system is adjustable, you can contact a water heater company in Panorama City.
The only renovation in your bathroom that may be expensive is the bathtub. Low tubs are challenging to enter and exit. A walk-in tub is the safest option for seniors, and some contractors claim that they can finish a tub renovation in a day. For low toilets, you can install new models that are at least 17 inches high, or you can attach grab bars to either side of the existing toilet.
Remove All Obstacles
A messy home is not an ideal environment for seniors. Wide-open spaces provide the safest area for seniors to navigate around a property. In the living room and hallways, you should remove any obstacles such as children’s toys, yoga mats, game controllers and shoes. Keeping the kids from leaving their toys around can be difficult, but if you have a discussion explaining the dangers of leaving a mess, the children will be happy to confine their clutter in their bedrooms. Exercise equipment such as barbells, running machines and Pilates balls can also pose a tripping hazard to seniors and should be stored in a separate room away from the common areas.
If you have an entertainment center with electronic devices, you can secure cables and extension cords behind the equipment. Remove any cord that stretches across a walking area and avoid leaving a robotic vacuum cleaner in a hallway or living room.
Reorganize the Kitchen
The kitchen is another room that is prone to accidents when safety precautions aren’t implemented. If the kitchen floor is composed of slick tiles, you can add rubber mats or carpets with rubber backing. Throw rugs are not a safe option in the kitchen and will easily slide on a vinyl or tile floor, and all cleaning equipment like mops or brooms can be stored in a closet or garage.
Another crucial factor to consider is your kitchen’s accessibility. Find out which items are used most by the seniors and store them in easily accessible areas. Move glasses, canned goods, and cooking tools to lower shelves and purchase a step stool to make reaching higher areas easier. You can also replace your old faucet knobs with lever handles that are simple to turn.
Modify the Stairways
Aging adults sometimes have trouble with steep stairways, and a stair lift is the safest option for seniors with significant mobility issues. However, there are other measures you take to ensure the stairs are safe for older roommates. Traction tape can be applied to wooden or metal stairs, and you may need to attach an additional handrail against the wall if your stairway has only one. Also, you can repair loose boards, handrails and remove any carpet tacks or protruding nails. Any modifications you make should include indoor stairways, porch stairs and deck stairs. If you have a senior in a wheelchair, you may consider converting a front porch staircase to a ramp.
Adjust the Lighting
A poorly lit room can be hazardous for seniors who have vision problems. You may need to install additional light fixtures to make your home safer, and you can use high-intensity LEDs to provide ample light. Fumbling for a light switch in a dark room can be disorienting, but if you use an automatic lighting system, the lights will come on instantly when someone enters a room.
Although seniors experience challenges when they live in a busy home with their families, your home can be safe and welcoming for older loved ones when you make a few minor changes.