If you have an aging parent living with you, it’s vitally important that your home is safe and comfortable for their senior needs. There’s always the option to arrange for your parent to settle in an independent living facility, but if that’s not amenable for any reason, then you can just make the most out of it and make your home as senior-friendly as possible.
Your elderly parents have special needs, which is what you need to consider when arranging your home. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to get this done — there are tweaks you can do to make your living environment as safe and as comfortable as possible for your elders. These tweaks can also help if you are living with physically disabled persons as well.
Here are some practical arrangements you can make for a more senior-friendly dwelling:
Arrange your living room to allow as much open space as possible
Seniors should be able to move around the house without fear of bumping into or knocking over furniture. This is especially important for the living room since this is a high-traffic area. Using an L-shaped sofa will create lots of space to move around, partnered with a round center table for safety (avoid furniture with sharp edges).
Provide higher furniture
One of the common problems that seniors have around the home is the difficulty of getting up from the chair and bed, which usually happens when the furniture is low. This is why it’s important to provide furniture with standard height for your seniors. For instance, look for a bed that is high enough so that your senior’s feet can reach the floor just right when seating on the edge of the mattress.
If your bed frame is low, you can adjust height levels by adding a thicker mattress. While you’re at it, you can add padded headboards for comfort and safety. If you can afford it, an adjustable bed is also a great option for senior beds.
Install safety bars in bathrooms
Bathrooms can be a dangerous place for seniors. There’s the difficulty in getting and off the toilet seat and the possibility of slipping in the shower. Make the bathroom safer for your senior by installing grab bars beside the toilet seat and along the shower area. Not only will this aid in their mobility, but also save their lives.
If your senior has her own bathroom, you can opt to install a step shower, which is safer, instead of a tub. But if there’s no way to convert an existing rub, make sure to install a handrail beside it in a position that will make it easier for her to grab and hold onto.
Aside from bars, there are other fixtures that you should consider in your bathroom. Using single-handed faucet control will reduce the chances of your senior getting scalded at the sink. Apply the same solution to the shower by putting in pressure-balanced controls. Install a hand-held shower because this is easier to use compared to a fixed shower head.
Provide adequate lighting
Given their poor eyesight, walking around in dim spaces is challenging for seniors. This is why you have to set up well-lit areas especially in high-traffic areas. This will allow them to see better and minimize the possibility of injuries as well.
Go for slip-resistant floors
Slipping can be fatal for the elderly. Having floors that will lessen the likelihood of anyone slipping is a must if you are living with seniors. Pebble-tiled floors are an excellent option since it’s also easy to clean and maintain. If changing existing floors is not an option, you can make use of anti-slip rubber mats all over the place instead. If your senior is using walkers, consider installing low carpeting to lessen the chances of slipping.
Make the stairs safer
The stairs are another critical area for the elderly. Make this part of the house safer by installing handrails and adequate lighting. The stairway should be well-lit from top to bottom. This goes for entryways and landing spaces as well.
Modify entries and thresholds
Seniors can trip on the steps that are on entries and thresholds, so consider removing the steps if you have an elderly family member living in your home. This will become extremely helpful if your senior is using a wheelchair. In this case, you can have a ramp installed for easier mobility.
Use lever-style doorknobs
Doorknobs may seem trivial when it comes to the comfort of your senior, but this can be a big thing if he or she has arthritis. Rounded doorknobs can be quite difficult for them to move. Consider using levers on faucets as well.
Living with seniors means adjusting your home to make it safer and comfortable for the elderly needs. Do these tweaks to make your dwelling more senior-friendly.