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Simple Modifications to Improve Home Safety for Seniors

By Eddie In Healthcare

Though assisted living facilities offer superb amenities, most older adults prefer to age in place. Many seniors have spent decades in their current homes and have developed enriching friendships with their neighbors. However, for a senior to safely age in place, it’s essential to consider any necessary home modifications. 

If you’re a senior who wants to stay in your current home, consider the fundamental modification ideas below from Convenient Height. That way, you can ensure that you minimize your risk of injury and maximize the fulfillment you get from everyday life!

Image submitted by authorMary Shannon at SeniorsMeet.org; image by Rawpixel.

Shower Chairs 

The bathroom is perhaps the most critical part of the home to consider when your goal is to age in place. You must maintain personal hygiene without risking severe injuries in the process. If you have mobility issues, consider investing in a shower chair or a bathtub transfer bench, which straddles the sides of the tub and makes it easy for seniors to sit down easily on the bench and get out of the tub after bathing. 

If you have a more extensive project budget, consider installing a walk-in shower or bathtub. Another simple modification is to put down non-slip mats in the shower and on the bathroom floor.

Tall Toilets

One of the best things to age in place safely is installing a tall toilet. Toilets by Convenient Height make it easier to sit down and stand up because they are 20 inches high instead of the standard height of 15 inches. If you choose to go this route, find a local plumber to handle the installation by searching online for “best plumbers near me.”

Doorways 

If you rely on a mobility aid like a wheelchair or walker, you will need your doorways to be a little wider than the standard home. Connect with local contractors that can widen your entry door and any other doors that you need to access regularly. 
The extent of the work will depend on whether or not the placement of electrical outlets and switches need to be moved, among other factors. Ask your contractor if installing expandable door hinges is an option that would suffice.

Ramps

If you use a wheelchair or deal with balance issues, you should plan to install ramps at your home. Using entry and threshold ramps is well worth the investment because they will allow you to live with greater independence each day. 

Depending on your home’s layout and general needs, you may be able to get away with using removable ramps that can easily be adjusted to accommodate the number and height of steps as well as the door jambs they are being placed over. 

Flooring

You also need to consider the flooring in your home. If you use a wheelchair or other type of mobility aid, high-pile carpets and shaggy rugs are your worst enemies. 

Many seniors benefit from installing low-pile carpet because it allows for easy maneuvering while also providing padding for falls. If you go with hardwood, vinyl, laminate, or tile floors, you may want to put down non-slip mats. And if you use throw rugs, securely tape them down to prevent tripping.

Kitchen Alterations

Lastly, you may need to make some kitchen modifications for aging in place comfortably and safely. Make sure your countertops and cabinets are at a height where you can easily access them and consider rearranging your appliances (e.g., microwave, toaster, coffee maker, etc.) so that you can use them without risking injury. Many seniors also must lower the light switches in their kitchens and other rooms if they use a wheelchair.

If you want to age in place, now is the time to make a plan. Consider the home modifications above, and evaluate your home to see what adjustments are necessary to allow you to live securely in your home. Before long, your living environment will provide you with what you need to make your golden years the best years yet!

Article submitted by the guest author: Mary Shannon at SeniorsMeet.org. Thank you Mary!.

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