Thought Leader Series: Home Modifications to Increase Safety for Seniors

Stephan Baldwin is the Director of Business Development for Assisted Living Center, an online resource for aging care communities.

If you had to choose between spending your senior years in a semi-private or private nursing home room or in your own home, would you hesitate to answer?

Home modifications
Prolong loved ones staying in their own homes with these helpful tips.

Of course you wouldn’t. Everyone wants to live near their family members and friends, especially during their senior years, when they most need the assistance of loved ones they can depend on.

Other reasons seniors want to remain in their own homes are:

  • They don’t want to leave the familiarity of their community.
  • They’ve been going to the same doctors and dentists for years and trust them.
  • Selling their home and relocating would be expensive, stressful and time-consuming. Retirement is for taking it easy, not work!
  • They’ve remodeled and renovated their home over the years to be exactly the way they want it to be.

In addition, leaving home to live in a nursing home would mean giving up their independence and sense of control. For many seniors, it is this feeling of self-rule that gives extra meaning to their lives. Even small things, such as choosing to decorate the bathroom a certain way or planting a rose garden in their yard, help to support psychological stability and prevent depression.

Home Modifications to Help Seniors Stay Safe at Home

Falling at home is the #1 cause of injuries for seniors. To reduce the risk of seniors falling at home, here are a few home modifications that are practical and affordable:

  • Hand rails and grab bars throughout the home (available in decorator colors to make them seem less “institutional”).
  • Cover hardwood floors with low-pile carpet instead of rugs.
  • Install hand rails in the shower and next to the toilet. For seniors with limited range of motion, installing a tub/shower seat or bench allows them to sit instead of stand while bathing.
  • Widen narrow door frames to accommodate walkers or wheelchairs. Consider removing problematic doorways altogether.
  • Light switches should be available at the top and bottom of stairs as well as by the front and back doors (or use sensor lighting devices that automatically turn on when they detect movement).
  • Construction of ramps outside the front and back doors for accessible exit and entry.
  • Installation of home elevators or stair lifts in multi-story homes.
  • Renovating kitchen cabinets to include shelves that pull out so seniors can more easily reach items.

Motorized Window Treatments for Seniors

Instead of risking a nasty fall, seniors can quickly adjust blinds or shades from where they are sitting. By simply pressing a button, they can:

  • Adjust hard-to-reach shades and blinds.
  • Easily regulate light intensities in any room, which can prevent fading of home furnishings.
  • Control a room’s temperature according to the amount of sunlight permitted to enter that room.
  • Save time by simultaneously raising or lowering lower blinds or shades in rooms containing many windows.
  • Reduce glare on television screens due to a rising or setting sun without leaving your chair.
  • Eliminate the tangle and untidiness of cords needed to adjust non-motorized window treatments.
  • Facilitate cleaning of blinds and shades.

By implementing the modifications mentioned above, you can ensure that your loved one’s home is as safe as possible.

Interested in making a loved one’s home safer? Schedule an appointment with us today!

Written by Del Thebaud

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