Creating a comfortable living space is always important. As we age, our bodies have different capabilities and needs. Even if we never have had major surgery or health issues, it is crucial to prepare our homes so that we can safely and comfortably live as independent seniors. There are often several accommodations seniors need, such as installing an accessible bathtub or reducing the number of stairs to make a safe home for seniors.
If you or a loved one is preparing for independent senior living, creating a safe home for seniors isn’t always easy due to a range of potential hazards. Below are a few home remodeling tips to consider.
Making a Safe Home for Seniors
Reduce the Number of Steps in the Home
Not every senior has issues with climbing upstairs on a regular basis, but they often have issues with energy. Other independent seniors may have issues with muscle atrophy or arthritis that affect them every day.
Even if capable of climbing a large staircase to enter the home, consider creating at least one stair-less entryway. Stairless entryways don’t just help people in wheelchairs; it makes everyday living a lot easier. For example, ramps can make carrying in groceries much easier. In addition to adding a ramp, you may want to consider rearranging your home to avoid stairs. For example, relocate the bedroom and at least one bathroom to the main floor of the home. This can be very helpful if you become tired after a long day or begin to have issues with mobility later on.
If you cannot avoid stairs in the home, consider purchasing electric stair lifts or elevators. Double-check and maintain any rails that you have installed, making any needed repairs. This can help eliminate the risk of falling down large staircases.
Upgrade the Lighting
It’s no secret that our vision starts to change as we age. Creating plenty of bright spaces can make a home feel more inviting and improve safety.
Start by identifying areas of the home that don’t get a lot of light and add lamps or motion-sensor nightlights. Then, consider changing the bulbs in your other light fixtures to a brighter wattage. Switching to bright LED light bulbs can make everything more visible and reduce the need to change light bulbs. You should also have portable light devices readily available in case of a power failure.
Some independent seniors may also struggle with turning nobs and flipping switches. If this is the case, consider using smart technology to control the lights in the home. There are several smart devices that allow you to push a button on your phone or use voice commands to activate.
Smart lights can also be programmed to turn on at certain times or remotely, which can be a great feature for people going on vacation or who are worried about safety at night.
Remodel the Bathroom
Being able to properly access the bathroom is crucial for independent living. In many cases, everything in the bathroom needs to be adjusted including cabinets, toilets, and bathtubs. Many of these upgrades can be customized to suit the homeowner’s sense of style and unique needs.
Start by installing a reliable walk in tub. This creates a safer and easier way to bathe. Most cut-out tubs also have easy-to-use grab bars and simple functions designed with seniors in mind. There are several bathtub cut out choices on the market, including the popular convertible, which can turn a step-in shower into a traditional bath within minutes.
Choosing the right bathtub for seniors doesn’t have to be difficult.
BathAccess Ontario offers a wide selection of bathtub accessibility products that can assist with entering the tub and reducing slips. BathAccess prides themselves on being “the neighbour that looks after your bathroom safety needs” and offers quality installation services throughout Toronto and the surrounding area.
If you or your loved ones prefer to shower, consider adding a shower chair to your bathroom. Many independent seniors have a fear of slipping while standing in the shower. Having a shower chair decreases the risk of falling and provides a secure place to sit if needed. Be sure to add a Tub Bar or rails to assist with getting in and out of the chair if you choose this option. You should also consider adding a handheld showerhead.
In addition to installing an easy-to-use walk in bathtub or shower chair, you may want to consider replacing the toilet. Installing a raised toilet can help reduce joint pain. Choose a comfortable toilet seat with arms or rails to assist those with limited mobility.
Prevent Falls and Slips with New Flooring
Some flooring is better for independent living. While investing in a tub cut out or reducing stairs in the home can help with preventing slips, having the right flooring can make a huge impact.
Choosing a soft and slip-resistant option is a crucial step in promoting home safety. Rubber flooring is a popular choice, as it is also very easy to clean. Carpet can be a great option as well, but many seniors have trouble pushing the vacuum to keep it clean. Avoid using ceramic tile and hardwood.
Also examine the flooring for small bumps and trip hazards. In some cases, walking into rooms with different flooring materials can cause you to lose balance and trip. You should also be wary of things like extension cords, which can be difficult to see.
Embrace New Technology when making a Safe Home for Seniors
Take the time to learn about new technology and how it can help seniors maintain independence. In addition to learning about smart home features, consider investing in a reliable cell phone. In addition to helping with communication, there are several apps designed to help seniors around the home. Medical alert devices and apps are also a great investment for anyone with limited mobility. This can help provide you with peace of mind should there ever be an emergency.
Creating the perfect independent living space and maintaining a safe home for seniors starts with upgrading the home. Most home upgrades such as cut out tubs and ramps, help to increase the value of a home. Whether preparing for senior life or have limited mobility, you deserve to be comfortable and safe in your living space.