Home Modifications for Aging in Place
12.1% of adults in the United States have a mobility disability, which means home modifications need to be made in order to stay in their homes. Aging in place has become a popular choice for seniors, allowing them to maintain their independence and stay close to family and friends. However, in order to age in place safely and comfortably, it is important to make modifications to the home that enhance accessibility and prevent falls.
One of the most common causes of injury for seniors is falls. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in four adults over the age of 65 experience a fall each year, with approximately 20% resulting in a serious injury such as a broken bone or head injury.
These falls not only lead to physical harm but can also result in a loss of independence and an increased fear of further falls.
At Paramount Living Aids, it is our mission to provide the tools and resources necessary for seniors to continue living in their homes and thriving in their communities. Fortunately, there are several modifications that can be made to the home to reduce the risk of falls and increase overall safety and comfort.
Check out these modifications:
1. Personal Alert Systems
These devices, also known as medical alert systems, allow seniors to quickly and easily call for help in the event of a fall or other emergency. With a personal alert system, seniors can have peace of mind knowing that medical response teams are just a button press away.
These systems range in price and complexity, with some devices automatically alerting family members or caregivers if the senior has been inactive for an extended period of time. Personal alert systems are an essential investment for any senior who wants to remain independent.
2. Bathroom Modifications
The bathroom can be one of the most dangerous rooms in the house, with a high risk of falls and injuries while showering or bathing. One of the most common modifications to make is the installation of grab bars, which provide a sturdy handhold for seniors who need assistance getting in and out of the tub or shower. These grab bars can also provide support when using the toilet or washing hands at the sink.
It is important to choose grab bars that can support the weight of the user, with a minimum weight limit of 250 pounds. Installing grab bars is an affordable and effective way to increase safety and accessibility in the bathroom.
3. Install a Wheelchair Ramp
Wheelchair ramps are one of the most widely used ramps in both residential and commercial settings. Although wheelchair users are the most common people who utilize wheelchair ramps, these ramps are also recommended for seniors who have mobility and balance issues.
When researching what ramp best suits your home, it is essential that you look for ramps that follow Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines for home modifications. ADA ramps adhere to specific guidelines for ramp safety. Also, it is important that you have a trained professional install your ramp.
4. Replace Throw Rugs
Thick rugs are difficult to clean, bunch up, and can lead to accidents. It’s best to replace anything at your residence that presents a tripping hazard. You can also replace rugs with slip-proof mats, but if you want to keep your rugs for any reason, stick double-sided tape underneath them to secure them. You can also move the rugs to larger rooms, keeping them out of the way if you need to go around them.
5. Rearrange Your Furniture
If you use a mobility aid or will need one in the future, make sure you have clear pathways throughout your home. With a wide berth between furniture, you can get around easier — wheelchairs require a more expansive space for moving around indoors. If you have any fragile decorations that could present a hazard, move them away from parts of the house you need to frequent. Relocate any furniture that could present a hazard.
6. Replace Doorknobs and Cabinet Hardware
Round turn knobs can be tough to use for someone with mobility issues. Install accessible lever handle replacements that are easy to open in place of your old doorknobs and cabinet handles. Lever handles are easier to grip if your hand strength is weak and gentle on your joints if you have arthritis.
7. Install Lighting in Dark Places
If you have a dim basement or cellar, consider adding additional lighting. Illumination is especially important for stairways where you’ll need maximum visibility to stay aware of your surroundings. Additional lighting can reduce your risk of an accident.
However, you can also install rocker-style light switches for easier use. If you’d prefer not to hire an electrician, you can add automatic nightlights in narrow hallways or small bathrooms.
8. Install a Stairlift and/or Chair Lift
Installing a stairlift, allows you or your loved ones to easily travel up and down the stairs without risking a fall or injury. Installing a stairlift involves attaching a track to the staircase walls or steps, then mounting a chair or platform onto the track.
Depending on the model chosen, they come with a range of safety features. Some of the features include a seatbelt and automatic braking systems. Not only does a stairlift provide added safety and convenience, but it can also allow aging individuals to maintain independence.
9. Utilize a Smart Vacuum
It’s time to invest in a robot! Heavy vacuums with multiple attachments can become more difficult to maneuver as you age. A great way to make the vacuum process easier is to utilize a smart vacuum. Smart vacuums will do the work for you!
Plus, the low height of the vacuums allows them to reach under furniture and other hard-to-reach spots with ease.
10. Get Smart Medication Dispensers
Medication dispensers have come a long way from the traditional weekly containers that people have been using for years. With a range of products and apps available, tracking and taking medications has become easier. For example, there are simple solutions like sorting your medications into pill organizers or more sophisticated options, like investing in machines that can dispense up to 10 different medications on schedule. There are options for everyone, so it’s important to do your research.
Let us help you!
Paramount Living Aids, is committed to providing seniors with the resources necessary to age in place safely and comfortably. We understand that aging can pose unique challenges, and our compassionate team is here to help. Contact us today for your FREE consultation!