Make Your Home Senior-Friendly & You'll Be Golden

With this room-by-room guide, you’ll be well on your way to making easy, senior-friendly home improvements.

If there’s a senior in your family, you’re probably aware that certain adjustments have to be made for their comfort and safety in your home. These alterations should be made in every room that a senior may frequent. With this room-by-room guide, you’ll be well on your way to making your home senior-friendly.

 

The Bedroom

A “clap on/off” lighting device can assist seniors with mobility problems. This is usually the best choice for a senior who needs to have a convenient bedside lamp. With the help of this no-touch light, a senior won’t have to get up and navigate through darkness to turn on the room lights.

 

Bed height can also be an issue for seniors with mobility issues. If a bed is too high, it can be difficult for them to climb in. But a bed that’s too low could cause a senior to injure themselves when trying to sit. It’s best for a senior to accompany you to the furniture store to test if the height of a bed will work for them before it's purchased.

 

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If balancing when getting out of bed is an issue for your senior family member, you can add grab-bars next to the bed to prevent falls.

 

For seniors with mobility issues that need to frequent the bathroom at night, a portable toilet in their bedroom is one possible solution.

 

The Bathroom

The bathroom is potentially hazardous for anyone in your home, not just seniors. Slippery bathtubs and wet tile floors make them especially dangerous. To prevent slips and falls, add grab bars in your bathtub or shower. A bathtub mat will add friction for your feet to grip in the bathtub. You may always want to consider installing a removable shower seat like this one.

 

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The outside of the bathtub/shower is just as important when senior-proofing your bathroom. Add a rug with traction next to the tub to prevent slipping while exiting. A grab-bar can also be installed for additional assistance.

 

If you already have an adjustable sink and toilet, you can adjust their height appropriately for ease of use. If you don’t have them, you can add a step stool for the sink, and also a grab-bar for the toilet.

 

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The Kitchen

Items such as food, appliances, plates, and utensils should be stored at an appropriate height both in cabinets and on counters to avoid making seniors stretch or bend over to reach them.

 

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To avoid slips in the kitchen, you can add non-skid gel mats. Gel mats are both comfortable to stand on and safe. They should be placed near cooking areas.

 

Automatic devices are available for controlling stoves and ovens. Seniors may forget to turn these appliances off, creating a potential fire hazard.

 

Plenty of light in the kitchen will help your senior to easily navigate the area. Natural light can be maximized by clearing the windows and sink. Additionally, countertop lights can also be installed.

 

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Overhead appliances, like microwaves for example, can be inaccessible to a senior if they’re installed too high. Built-in appliances can be mounted to walls at an appropriate level, which can also free up kitchen counter space.

 

Additional Safety Tips

  1. A stair-lift can be installed for seniors with mobility problems.
  2. Entryway lights should be placed at frequently-used doorways.
  3. Medical response systems can alert emergency services if a senior is in need when there’s no one around.
  4. Opt for no-step entryways, both inside and outside of the home, because these can be a tripping hazard.
  5. A ramp can be added to the outside of your home if a senior uses a wheelchair.
  6. Be sure to keep a telephone on the bedside table and other frequented areas of the home for possible emergencies.
  7. Arthritis can make it difficult for seniors to flip regular-sized light switches. To address this issue, rocker light switches for simple operation can be installed in rooms that seniors frequent to make things easier for them.

 

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Fore more helpful home improvements to increase the safety of your property check out House Tipster Basics: How to Make Your Home Safer.