How to Make Your Home Accessible as a Senior
Aging causes many changes to our lives. If you are a senior, and desire to stay in your home as you continue to age, there may be modifications you can make to your house to make it more accessible. If so, here are some ways you can tackle accessibility to create your perfect home.
Add to the Yard
Don’t just think of the indoors when choosing to make your home accessible. If you do not have a direct path to your front door, it is time to add one. Make sure it is flat and easily navigable. Putting a border along its edge can help guide people to the front. If there are steps to your front door, a ramp will help both those with wheelchairs and walkers to enter. Remember, the smaller the incline, the easier it is to use the ramp.
This may not be applicable to you, but it may one day become an issue. For instance, carpet can be hard to traverse if you rely on a wheelchair, a walker, or even a cane. Rugs can catch and cause trips, so consider simply having tile, wood or laminate floors to aid in stability. Another way to prevent spills is to keep your walkways clear. Make sure all cords are tied up, covered, or adhered to the wall. If you have a multistory home, you may want to invest in a chairlift if you or a loved one uses a wheelchair. It is also wise to add lighting to ensure pathways are clearly visible at all hours. If you have a landline phone, try to keep one phone in each of your main rooms, so that it is never too far away.
Update the Bathrooms
One of the trickiest areas of the home to navigate as we age is the bathroom. Lowering ourselves onto toilets, stepping over the lips of bathtubs, having difficulty rising up again all pose challenges and are potential hazards. If you have difficulties with your hips or knees, a raised toilet seat can be added to your current appliance. Grab bars placed in the shower and near the toilet can aid in standing or sitting. They are easy to install, and are an inexpensive help. Unfortunately, anyone with limited mobility may have difficulty navigating a tub. It may be the best option to remove the tub altogether and replace it with a walk-in shower. If you are concerned about having to stand for prolonged periods of time, a shower bench can be added to give you a place to relax and enjoy a hot shower. If you have trouble with arthritis, or your fingers cannot grip as well as they used to, replace your faucets with levers for easy use.
It can seem daunting to downsize your home. You have to store or give up some of the goods you have collected over the years, and you have to adjust to having a smaller space. However, a smaller home is one that is easier to care for. But if this is what you decide to do, what should you look for? Consider if the thresholds in doorways are easy to navigate, and if walkways are well-lit. If there are stairs, are there handrails? You should have at least one flat entryway or ramp into the home. Do the bathrooms have any of the modifications we previously discussed? Make certain that the floors are flat and if there is carpet, make sure it is low-pile. Grab bars should be installed throughout the home, including the bathrooms but also by the bed to aid you in getting in and out each day.
The more accessible your home is, the easier you will be able to navigate it as you age. Do not hesitate to get a professional contractor’s opinion before making modifications, or having specific things in mind if you decide to downsize your home. We all experience different ailments and changes when we grow older, so it is important to know what you and your loved ones will need when looking to make your home accessible.
THIS ARTICLE WAS PROVIDED BY Clair Wentz with Caring from A Far" www.caringfromafar.com.