The Golden Years bring with them both advantages and disadvantages; more free time to enjoy all kinds of activities and yet, the possibility of falls, health issues and the possibility that your senior family member or friend may need to move to an assisted care facility. In some cases a move to an assisted care facility or a nursing home may be inevitable but there are steps that can be taken to help your senior age in place for a longer period of time.
Because aging also brings with it decreases in agility, mobility and diminished faculties as it relates to hearing and eyesight, the home needs to become more senior friendly and there are many alterations that can be made to a home to make it more amenable to aging individuals.
Here are five ways to make the family home safer for aging individuals:
- If the home is two levels, it may make sense to install a chair lift to help your aging relative make it safely to and from the second floor. Because stairs are one of the most dangerous places for those with limited mobility, stair lifts sometimes make sense. Installing handle bars throughout the house is also a way to enhance mobility; these handle bars can be placed in walkways and hallways to aid in getting around the house. Handle bars are also wise investments for the bathroom and bedroom.
- Remove all clutter. In many cases, the elderly find it hard to part with items to which they’re sentimentally attached and this can lead to clutter and even trip and fall hazards. Clutter can also lead to a fall if it spills out into the walkways and makes mobility even harder to manage.
- Outdoor stair ramps can also be useful for aging individuals that need to use the stairs to get in and out of the house. Ramps are easy to build and can either share space with steps or replace the staircase, but can be removed if the house is sold.
- Automatic motion detection lighting can add safety inside and out. These lights make it easier for the senior to navigate the home without fear of fumbling around for light switches and alleviate the need to remember to turn the lights off.
- Bathroom remodeling is typically a wise investment. Consider installing walk-in bathtubs and seating areas in the shower stall. Non slip floor and bathtub mats and grip bars can also help prevent slip and fall accidents.
In addition to these steps, equipping the home with a medical alert system can be invaluable. These devices help elders age in place while providing peace of mind to both them and family members that if an emergency arises, they can easily summon emergency assistance.