A home does not immediately seem like a threatening location. But for an elderly loved one who is suffering from reduced mobility, even a seemingly inoffensive home is littered with potential hazards. Slippery floors, loose carpets, and cluttered walk spaces could all induce a trip to the emergency room.
To keep your loved ones safe and make your home more accessible to elderly friends and family, it is recommended you undertake some modest home improvements. Here we outline several ways to make your home more navigable for those with mobility challenges:
Entering The Property
Your property’s threshold is the portal that connects your home with the outside world. If you are welcoming visitors, you want them to feel safe and comfortable at any time of the day or night. Similarly, if your loved one is living with you, you want them to feel connected to the outside world. This means ensuring your property’s entry point is easily navigable. You can do this in several ways:
- Remove steps
- Ensure the walkway is well-lit
- Cut back any vegetation that is covering the walkways
- Construct a garage lift for entry and exit
- Widen the doorway to allow for wheelchair entry
- Build a stair lift (click the link for a stair lift company you can trust)
Bedrooms And Bathrooms
Accessibility does not end once you enter the property. If your elderly loved one does not feel like a bathroom or bedroom is within easy reach at all times, they may feel a sense of anxiety and discomfort. The following home modifications can help improve bathroom and bedroom accessibility and facilitate mobility around the home:
- Building a walk-in shower with multiple showerheads
- Lowering the bathroom sink
- Instilling grab bars in the bathroom and around the corridors
- Elevating the bed and toilet
- Install a shower chair
- Building a stairlift in multi-storey properties
- Widen doors and hallways
- Keep walk spaces clear of clutter
- Convert a first-floor room into a bedroom or bathroom
- Install non-slip floors
- Replace doorknobs with lever-style handles
There are additional measures you can take to prevent accidents or to assist in accident response. These are often small gestures that go a long way towards keeping your loved one safe in the home.
One way to protect your loved one is to make the home brighter. As we get older, our eyesight deteriorates. Something as simple as increasing the brightness and volume of lights in the property could significantly reduce the likelihood of elderly residents suffering from a trip or fall.
Placing a phone in each room is also a sensible security measure. If your loved one has a medical emergency, they will need a phone within arm’s reach to call for assistance. For particularly vulnerable residents, it might be worth considering getting them an emergency contact system they can wear around their neck. If they fall and are unable to get up, they will be able to press the button and easily call for assistance.
None of these home modifications are extensive, and all will make a big difference in the quality of life and mobility of your elderly loved one. Many states also offer financing options for home improvements designed to facilitate elderly living. Check with your local government to see if there are any financial aid packages your loved one is entitled to.