Building a Happy Home for the Elderly and Disabled
The home should always be a place where we can be safe and comfortable. But when we or our loved ones grow older, or if someone who lives in the home has a disability, we need to make a few adjustments beyond the regular creature comforts to make sure that everyone can get around the house without injury.
If you’re looking for some tips on making your house safer and more accessible for loved ones who may need extra help, here are a couple that you may want to apply:
Around the house:
- Nightlights – Keeping hallways and staircases reasonably illuminated is a good idea, especially if your loved one needs to get up at night.
- Wheelchair lifts or elevators – It might be better if older or wheelchair-using family members have their rooms situated in the downstairs area of the house, but if that’s not possible, a lift will make it easier for them if they need to go up and down the house.
- Ramps – If necessary, install a ramp going to the front and back doors of the house, this will help those who have problems with stairs go in and out of the house. Don’t forget to add a railing for the ramp in case they need extra assistance climbing.
- Lever-type doorknobs – The typical rounded doorknob can be difficult to use for those with arthritis or gripping issues but lever knobs can be operated more easily.
- Lower countertops – Adjusting kitchen counters to a height where wheelchair- or scooter-using individuals can work and prepare food is important for safety (because they need to see what they’re doing) and for their sense of independence. Additionally, if necessary, one can also rearrange items on shelves and cabinets in a way that they’re easily accessible.
In the bathroom:
- Grab bars – Bathrooms are very accident-prone because they’re often wet and slippery but you can help prevent the risk of falls by adding these sturdy stainless steel bars by the tub, shower, and toilet areas.
- Raised toilet seats – You may install these if your loved one has difficulty sitting on low toilet seats. These are typically made out of plastic and can come with or without foam-covered armrests.
- Slip-resistant flooring – Among the top choices for bathroom flooring are vinyl, linoleum, cork, bamboo, and rubber flooring as they offer some shock absorption, are comfortable to walk on, and don’t require so much maintenance. It might also be worth looking into anti-skid mats and barrier-free shower pans in lieu of bathtubs which will allow wheelchairs and the like to be brought in more easily. (Flooring improvements can also be done all over the house.)
- Shower seating – Taking a bath might be harder on seniors and the disabled, especially if they have to stand for long periods of time to do so. A sturdy waterproof seat or a permanent bench where they can sit while taking a shower will make the process more comfortable.
These are just some of the renovation options that will help build a safe, functional, and comfortable home for aged and disabled residents – some of these may even help them become more independent as they’re able to access more, and these mean a happier home.