The saying “home is where the heart is,” rings especially true for many seniors. According to the AARP, 90% of adults age 65 and older want to stay in their current home and community as they age. For those seniors choosing to age-in-place, safety is something that should be addressed sooner rather than later. According to the Center for Disease Control, 1/3 of older adults (age 65 and older) will fall at some point and 50% of those falls happen in their own home. This means that any and all home modifications for seniors should be addressed immediately. Don’t wait for an accident to happen.
These 10 home modifications are the most impactful changes to make in creating a more comfortable, safe, and accessible home for seniors aging-in-place.
Put Grab Bars in the Bathroom
The bathroom is where most falls occur for seniors aging-in-place, so it must be prioritized for fall prevention. Grab bars are a great solution for the shower, bath, and toilet area, making it easier for seniors to stabilize themselves. There are cost effective grab bar options available, in addition to more customized builds.
Install an elevated toilet seat.
One of the most frustrating mobility issues many seniors face is finding it difficult to get up and down from the toilet. An elevated toilet seat makes the process much easier and installing one is pretty simple.
Install Hand Rails for Stairs
Stairs can prove to be especially challenging for seniors with physical ailments, both outside the home and inside. Installing sturdy hand rails on both sides of a staircase, no matter how small, can make all the difference between a senior catching themselves just in time or falling down.
Install Proper Lighting
Whether it’s getting up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night or grabbing something out of a dark closet, visibility is very important when it comes to avoiding any hazards or accidents. Make sure that there is enough lighting in every room of the house and look at using nightlights for hallways, or even light tape for cupboards and closets. These are smaller, and still effective solutions for keeping the home well-lit and visible at all times.
Replace Door Knobs with Levers
For seniors that have arthritis or find their hands getting weaker, opening doors in the house can start to become more of a challenge. Switching out door handles with lever handles can do the trick in making this challenge become easier and safer.
Remove or Fix Unsecured Rugs
No matter how great they may look, rugs that can bunch up or easily move can be serious tripping hazards for seniors aging-in-place. Sometimes a slip mat can be a good quick fix but if the rug still bunches up, it might be better to just remove the rug entirely to prevent any unnecessary trips and falls.
Move Clutter for Clear Walking Paths
In addition to rugs, there are a number of other items on the ground that can become a tripping hazard for older adults. Clear walking paths by moving furniture and using cord covers anywhere they may be needed.
Install or Update Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
For seniors living in an older home, having working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are crucial for their safety and health. These devices will alert seniors in plenty of time for them to safely avoid any serious health hazard in their home.
Smart Home Plugs & Light Switches
Technology has made homes smarter and in some cases especially more convenient for seniors looking to age-in-place. Devices like WeMo or Philips HUE make light switches and lightbulbs to be used in the home that are accessible from a smart phone or iPad, or even through a voice-controlled device like the Amazon Echo. So instead of getting up to turn off lights around the house, a senior can simply do-so from the comfort of their couch, chair or bed on their electronic device.
Wireless Doorbell Camera System
Another technologically driven home modification, these new wireless doorbell cameras allow for older adults to safely watch and see any visitors without needing to get up and go to the door. Whether it be a friendly neighbor or the UPS man, many of these devices allow for seniors to talk to the individual at the door through a smartphone, making it easier for them avoid walking to and from the door and potentially answering the door for strangers.
If it sounds like you or a loved one should look into any of these home modifications, the first step is to schedule a home assessment with a Certified Aging in Place (CAP) Specialist. At SameAddress, our CAP Specialist will visit the house, review the entire inside and outside before providing a comprehensive document that explains all of the recommended home modifications and associated cost. As a program of the Area Agency on Aging, we’ve been helping make homes “senior safe” in the local community for over 40 years, with the goal of making life easier, safer, and more comfortable for seniors aging-in-place.
To schedule a home assessment with SameAddress, call us today at 1-866-SENIOR-1.