10 Ways To Make Your Home Safer For Older Family Members
You want to have a home that is seen as a place of refuge by all members of the family, regardless of age. As our loved ones age, you will need to make some changes to how your spaces are laid out to keep everybody happy, healthy, and safe. Whether you are preparing your home for the coming of elderly family members or just want to ensure that their visits are enjoyable, there are simple and easy updates you can make to ensure security.
One of the most common issues that ageing people face is limited mobility. Thus, when revising your home, you should focus on home safety measures that also preserve their independence. Here are 10 tips on upgrading your house to make each room senior-friendly.
- Secure all your rugs
Use grip tapes or non-slip backings to secure area rugs to their place. There are plenty of affordable solutions that are a breeze to install. In addition to ensuring that your rugs don’t move, gel-based grippers also help in keeping them from curling or running. These items can be reactivated using water if you need to remove it temporarily when cleaning. Gel grippers are a popular choice for backing loose rugs because they do not leave residue and marks on the floor. They also work on rugs that are placed on top of carpeting.
- Replace or fix dangerous flooring
Elderly members usually drag their feet when walking and have balance issues. Thus, slick surfaces like tiles and hardwood, as well as high-pile carpets, are a huge no-no. These potentially hazardous elements can cause slips and falls. If your parents or grandparents are moving to your home, you might want to redo your risky floors. Replace carpets with low-pile varieties and take note of the slip rating of certain floor materials to ensure that those areas that see high traffic are as safe as can be.
- Make the stairs easier to climb
Avoid stair-related accidents by adding elements to your stairs that add extra grip. You can install grip tape to bare stairs. There are also non-slip mats that work nicely on the steps with or without carpeting. If an elderly family member is moving in, it is unavoidable that he or she uses the stairs. If your budget permits, you can install a stair-assist chair or stair lifts with adjustable seats to help make going up and down so much easier and faster for the seniors.
- Make passageways well lighted
Ideally, senior citizens will not have to climb and down the stairs. If you have a spare room at the ground level or can convert your TV room to accommodate guests, that’s where they should be. In any case, you must provide adequate lighting on all staircases, hallways, and passageways so they can clearly see where they are going, even without glasses on. You can install motion sensor lighting that turn on only when movement is detected. These types of lights are easy to install and will not put a huge dent on your electricity bill.
- Install hand rails and grab bars
Handrails and grab bars are two of easiest ways to boost your home’s safety for elderly members. Hallways, stairs, bathrooms, and even bedrooms should have these because it will help keep the seniors moving around more securely. Grab bars are made of different materials and can accommodate varying weights. They provide additional stability in the shower, in the bath, near the toilet, or anywhere else. They are also easy to install at any angle of your choosing.
- Add a shower bench to bath
A shower stool or bench lets your elderly members enjoy a bath independently while lowering the risk for slips and falls. Many bench models can stand on their own in the bathroom, but a transfer bench provides added security as the user gets inside or exits the shower. Before buying a bench, check first its maximum weight capacity to ensure that your senior family member is accommodated safely. This bench is also useful for individuals with limited mobility or those just recovering from an injury or surgery.
- Change the tub to a walk-in type
If your elderly family member is staying for an indefinite period (or permanently) you might want to consider upgrading your regular bathtub to a walk-in type. It also affords your loved ones a safe and convenient way to bathe independently. Before buying a new tub, make sure that is compliant with the guidelines set by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Walk-in bathtubs are also great for the rest of your household.
- Install bed rails
Bed rails assist elderly members as they get in and out of the bed. There are plenty of accessory options in the market, most of which are very easy to install. Most rails are simply fit between mattresses and box springs. Some even come with pockets to hold magazines, books, or anything else that seniors need to have on hand. Bed rails are also useful for people with limited mobility who need to change sleeping positions on their own. Whether it’s installed for permanent support or as a temporary acessory following a surgery, this will help ensure safety during bedtime.
- Install a security system
It might seem too much, but you can’t really go wrong with the added comfort that you and your elderly family members need. There are security systems that project videos in real time to your smartphone so you can check on your loved ones anytime you want. You can also pre-set the system to send out alerts in case somebody unexpectedly leaves your home or steps on the yard. Security devices are particularly useful if your senior members are prone to wandering off or have memory loss problems.
- Use home automation
An automated home is not just for your convenience, it also helps secure your elderly members. For example, a smart thermostat controller can automatically adjust the air conditioner or heater to keep your loved ones comfortable. Automated lights can also be remotely operated or pre-set to turn off and on at specific times of the day. If you’re unsure what type of home automation device to get, you can start with simple systems that offer both temperature and lighting features to turn your home into a safer space for everyone.
Overall, keeping your home safe is crucial if you have elderly family members. Set your home up to make them feel welcome and calm by taking into consideration the kinds of assistance they need. Start by applying simple home upgrades and then you can decide to fully automate next time as you get more accustomed to the technology.