Guest post by Catherine Collins
If your elderly parent notices their mobility, hearing or sight aren’t what they used to be, or if you have elderly guests that have to stay with you for some time, there are many home adjustments you can implement to make their life easier, safer and more pleasant. Here’s where to start:
1. Remove clutter
Clutter and rugs can be serious trip hazards and prevent the elderly in wheelchairs from moving altogether. So make sure to keep the floors tidy and clear, with clean paths. Additionally, shiny floors or patterned carpets can be challenging for people with vision problems or dementia. They can seem wet or be mistaken for obstacles.
2. Light up the house
An 85-year-old needs as much as three times more light than a 15-year-old to see the same thing, so providing elderly people with plenty of lighting is very important, especially for those who have vision problems. It can ensure they enter and exit the house safely and move about without getting into various hazardous situations. Installing a motion sensor is a great idea. It eliminates the need for getting up and walking to the switch. Plus, no lights will be left on throughout the night.
3. Rearrange the kitchen
Making the kitchen more accessible for elderly people is a great way to give them more autonomy. For instance, you can label the cabinets and shelves for easy identification and make sure items that get a lot of use like glasses, dishes and cutlery, are placed within hand’s reach. Additionally, keeping cabinets and drawers closed can help prevent bumps. If you’re adjusting the kitchen to be accessible for people in wheelchairs, removing the cabinets under the sink might be a good idea. Also, unplug the appliances that you think your elderly parents, family or friends won’t need, to avoid any confusion and hazardous situations.
4. Retrofit the bathroom
The bathroom can be one of the most dangerous rooms in a home – especially as we get older and weaker. The bathroom is often wet and slippery and full of sharp corners and hard surfaces that can cause a serious injury in case of a fall. In order to make getting on and off the toilet easier, you can install elevated toilets with armrests and grab bars.
Additionally, bathing can be a hard task for elderly people, especially if they don’t have a practical tub. However, there are bathtubs that are super easy to enter, exit and use. For instance, you can opt for concealed bathtubs from ACS Designer Bathrooms that are much safer and practical than some other models. Additionally, these bathtubs are also suitable for various additions like non-slip mats and safety grab bars that can make them even safer and easier to use.
5. Make stairs more practical
If you have a home with steps at the entryway, getting in and out can be quite difficult for older people. If getting rid of your threshold is not possible and installing a lift or escalators is expensive, you can opt for a ramp. They are safe, cheap and easy to install and use. There are ramps that are adaptable, mobile and look fairly stylish, so you don’t have to be afraid they will disturb your curb appeal. Indoor stairs are harder to conquer without a stair lift. Luckily, lifts are becoming more and more available and easy to use and install.
6. Scan the bedroom
The bedroom has always been a place of privacy and having help in the bedroom can make many people uncomfortable. However, there are many items that can make getting in and out of bed a piece of cake. There is a variety of bed rails that can be installed to almost any bed. Additionally, if your elderly parent or guest has trouble hearing the alarm clock, there are models that emit loud sounds and even shake the bed; a device is placed under the mattress and its vibrations can wake up even the sleepiest of heads.
Getting older or sick can be a very stressful period both for seniors and for their family and friends. So provide them with the right products and adjustments and help them lead a happy, safe, active and independent life.
Catherine Collins is a passionate home design consultant from Melbourne. She loves making homes beautiful and buildings sustainable, but she also like sharing her advice and knowledge with people. That is why she is also a regular contributor to the Smoothdecorator blog. She loves reading and enjoys a superhero movie from time to time. Find her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100018999578591 and Twitter: https://twitter.com/cllnscthrn.