Nowadays, older adults are choosing to age in place. Instead of moving to a retirement home, they would prefer to stay in the house they’ve lived in for decades. While modern technology has made it easier to age in place, many older adults would rather be around family and around energy they’ve grown accustomed to. Nothing sounds better than hearing the laughter of someone you love or sharing conversations with the younger ones at home.
But having an older adult in your home would also mean having to make a few adjustments to make the place safer for them. Common issues like decreased mobility and bad eyesight change the way older adults move around the house. These issues could risk their safety if the house they settle into isn’t “senior-proofed.”
An in-home care franchise can help you deal with many problems associated with aged living. We have come up with five ways to make your house safer for your older loved ones to move around without the need for micro-management.
1. Retrofit the bathroom
The bathroom is a high-risk area for older adults because it’s often wet and slippery. If younger people can slip on a puddle or towel, imagine how much easier it will be for someone with limited ability to get into an accident. You need to retrofit the bathroom to accommodate people with impaired mobility. For instance, adding a shower chair or bench will make that room safer.
Older adults can’t stand for long periods because of chronic pains that could occur in their back or legs. Installing a shower bench will allow them to sit in the shower, lowering the risk of slipping or falling over. For extra measure, you can also get medical-grade chairs or benches which can support any body type and weight.
A significant upgrade you could incorporate into your home is a walk-in tub. Unlike the usual bathtub, walk-in tubs have extra features that make taking a bath less dangerous to seniors. Some walk-in tubs have handles and bars that they can hold onto as they step into it, unlike the usual tub. It’s also a lot bigger, so they have more room to stretch their legs in.
Walk-in tubs also have backrests and whirlpool jets, which can be good for those with bad backs. The jets can act like a gentle massage that isn’t too harsh on their softer bodies. And think about it: you and the rest of the family can also make use of that tub on your own time to relax, too.
2. Eliminate possible causes of accidents
You need to remove anything that may cause slips or falls. For instance, rugs are not as secured to the floor as wall-to-wall carpeting is, which can cause your seniors to trip over them easily. Rugs can be kicked around into a wrinkled mess, or their corners can curl upwards.
It’s dangerous for your older adults because rugs are very easily overlooked, making them susceptible to accidents. Get rid of purely decorative rugs, and think hard if some areas of the house actually need a rug in the first place.
If you must have a rug somewhere, buy grip tape to secure them to the floor. Grip tape isn’t like normal tape because it sticks well enough to different kinds of surfaces on both sides of the tape. Non-grip pads also work to keep your rugs from budging.
3. Install slip-resistant mats and flooring
Older adults have a more difficult time getting around, and having a slippery floor will make that so much worse. Hardwood floors may look amazing, but is the possibility of someone slipping and falling over really worth the look? Replace the flooring with something that can offer more stability, or get low-pile carpeting. That way, if someone slips or falls, the carpeting will offer support and an extra layer of protection for them.
If you’re going all the way to replace your flooring altogether, go for vinyl or linoleum. These two options are easy to clean, and the surface will be smooth enough for seniors who have wheelchairs or walkers, but not too smooth to the point of slippery.
4. Take advantage of new technology
Home automation may sound mundane to younger people, but it can do so much for older adults. You can upgrade your light systems to a smarter version, where anyone can switch the lights on or even dim them with a click of a button on a remote. Some can even be controlled through voice commands. For some people, getting up to locate the light switch can be a lot of work. Making the switch to a smart home system makes life better for everyone.
A final word
Making your home safer has never been so easy. Home technology and geriatric care has come a long way in recent years, and making things safer is now quicker and more cost-effective. Help your loved ones live out their later years in a safe and comfortable environment.