Are you thinking about moving your aging parent(s) to your home and make their senior days much easier? While this will have many benefits for your loved one, it will also require a series of home remodeling first. That is especially true if you have a big house, stairs, and rooms that are not particularly senior-friendly. You’ll want to make your senior feel comfortable and move around the house freely with a medical alert system, requiring very little of your assistance if at all. Therefore, if you think you need to modify your home from scratch. Here’s what you should focus on.
Adjust the doorways
Are your doorways wide enough to let a senior in a wheelchair enter and exit the house? The doorways should be at least 32 inches wide to allow the wheelchair to pass through. Therefore, make sure you measure the width and, if necessary, make the adjustments. This job won’t be quick and easy, though. You’ll need to replace the existing frame and add insulation, drywall, and paint. If you have light switches near doorways, they will probably need to be slightly moved too. Another invaluable modification regarding doors would be to have pocket doors. They would be a much better option than regular doors because it would stay out of the way and prevent catching on wheelchairs at the same time.
Install new floors
You can’t have smooth, shiny floor surfaces in your home if a person with low mobility is living there. So, get ready for some floor changing too. To offer them the utmost safety and prevent any falls and injuries, install rubber floors. Not only are they senior-friendly and unlikely to cause slips, but they will also be very easy to clean and maintain. Treat it with water-soluble wax, and it will become water and stain-resistant too.
Make the room spacious
The living room should be as open as possible. If your room is big enough and can allow you to have five-foot by five-foot clear space in the middle of the room, that would be the best option for seniors. This is especially convenient for people in a wheelchair because they’ll be able to move easily through the room. Also, if your aging senior uses a walker, they’ll have enough room to walk without tripping or hitting any furniture. Make sure you have their comfortable lift chair ready for their afternoon naps too. With ergonomic furniture, your aging loved one will have all the convenience needed to move around on their own without hurting themselves.
Put grab bars in the tub
Remodelling a bathroom can be a big hassle, so if you don’t want to change your tub for a shower, at least think about installing grab bars in the tub. Falling in the bathroom can cause a series of injuries that can end up being fatal. So, to prevent any hazard, install heavy bars for the elderly ones to hold onto. To work properly, grab bars must support a falling person’s weight. Improperly installed bars can detach from the wall, leading to injury.
Get a walk-in bathtub
Another addition to your bathroom that will help aging family members move around the bathroom without falling is a walk-in bathtub. If your senior can’t do much of climbing in and out of the bathtub, make their life easier by installing a walk-in bathtub. They’ll be able to conveniently get in the tub and shut the door before they turn on the water and fill the tub to get a bath. Furthermore, slipping in the shower can be especially dangerous for the ones with mobility issues, which is why rubber mats in the shower and in front of it would be a terrific upgrade too.
Replace the toilet
Many elderlies would need assistance to go to the bathroom because the toilet is not elderly-friendly. To avoid them getting embarrassed about needing help, be sure to install a toilet seat for the elderly. By offering them a raised toilet, they’ll never be in pain again as they use the toilet. Whether they’re recovering from injuries or suffering from chronic joint pain, it would be a nightmare to sit on a regular toilet. Not only will a raised toilet seat alleviate pain, but it will be more secure, comfortable, and affordable.
Incorporate shower chairs
Another useful bathroom upgrade would be a shower chair. No matter how safe the tub or shower is, slips and falls can occur. That’s why you should do your best to improve safety in the bathroom. When the elderly use the chair, they’ll be less likely to fall because they’ll have a secure area in a slippery shower or bath. If your loved one is in a wheelchair, shower chairs will not only be convenient but necessary as well. They will be able to shower on their own and decrease the chances of experiencing pain and difficulties as they shower.
Make the bathroom wheelchair-friendly
For people in a wheelchair, the bathroom will need to be additionally modified. Namely, roll-in showers with multiple shower heads would be very much needed. Fixed, height-adjustable, and handheld showerheads are a must because it will allow the senior to maneuver it in whichever way they need it. Secure the curtain well and don’t have it held up by a tension rod. If your loved one holds onto it and it falls off the rod, it can cause serious injuries and falls. That’s why you’ll need the grab bars.
Another modification to ease the time in the bathroom for those in a wheelchair should include lowering the bathroom sink. Check if there is proper knee clearance as well so that the one in a wheelchair can access it easily without hurting themselves. Label the faucets properly with hot and cold. Alternatively, you can color-code them with blue and red for cold and hot respectively.
Upgrade your staircase
If you have a high staircase leading to the second floor, you’ll need to modify it so that the seniors can use it on their own. A stairlift will both improve safety and allow easier access to the top floor. Whether they have difficulty moving due to arthritis or muscle atrophy, climbing up the stairs will feel like climbing Mount Everest. That’s why you should consider installing an electric stairlift.
If you want to offer an even bigger comfort to your elderly, and you have enough room to add an elevator into your home, do it. Not only will it be a great home improvement for the aging seniors, but it will also add value to your home. Many buyers are thinking ahead and planning for their old age so knowing that they’ll be moving into the house that’s already elderly-friendly will bring you more money when you decide to sell it.
Build a ramp
Last but not least, if your loved one is spending most of the time in a wheelchair and has to go out in it as well, you’ll need to build a ramp to make accessing indoors and going outside easier for them. You’ll be able to fit in a ramp indoor and outdoor well, as long as you plan for it carefully. It will offer you visual interest, function, and fun.
Taking care of the aging family member can be challenging, but if you make your home elderly-friendly, you won’t have to spend so much time worrying if they’re finding their way around the house. Secure the home well with all the improvements, and you’ll have the ever-needed peace of mind.