When you ask American seniors about where they want to spend their golden years, they answer loud and clear: in the comfort of home. Over the past few decades, seniors and their families have voiced stronger and stronger preferences for aging at home with the help of elder care, rather than in a retirement home or nursing facility. Design Tips for Aging at Home
Every year, countless families spend tens of thousands on nursing home residencies that could have been delayed or avoided through simple changes to a senior’s home. With that in mind, here are some of our elder care experts’ top tips for making any home more senior-friendly:
Design Tips for Aging at Home
- Improve Lighting. One of the easiest ways you can improve the senior-friendliness of any home is through lighting. Falls and injuries are often caused by unseen hazards. To reduce the chance of injury, install lights in areas with poor visibility and buy night lights to aid visibility on midnight trips to the bathroom.
- Think “Accessible.” Age often limits mobility, which can make certain objects hard to get to. This makes life more difficult and increases the chance a senior will hurt themselves straining for certain items. To improve elder-care-friendliness, do everything you can to make the home more accessible by placing important objects within easy reach.
- Eliminate Trip & Slip Hazards. Loose rugs, hardwood stairs, and glossy bathroom floors may be beautiful, but they pose a serious risk for trips and slips. Replace flooring or add non-slip strips in areas where slips are likely, and remove any items that present a high risk for tripping.
- Install Better Door Handles & Faucets. Seniors with arthritis or strength issues often struggle with knob-style door handles and faucets. Lever-style handles are far easier to use and can purchased and installed at a relatively low cost.
- Safer Bathrooms. The bathroom is the number one area of concern for senior safety. Shower bars, shower seating, and temperature-limits on hot water help seniors bathe safely. The professional senior caregivers from Visiting Angels also suggest grab bars and a raised seat for the toilet, which is one of the most overlooked areas when it comes to injury risks.
- Senior Living Equipment. There are a number of tools you can bring into your home that make home-life easier for seniors. Stair lifts and walkers are two of the most common pieces used by seniors with mobility issues.
- Watch Out for Stairs & Steps. Stairs and steps are major areas of concern, not only for the increased risk of tripping, but also for the increased risk of severe injury. Have sturdy railings installed wherever there are stairs in your home, and consider adding small ramps in place of single steps.
The best ways to create an elder care friendly home will change on a case by case basis. So if you or a loved one are struggling to live at home, do a risk and comfort assessment to see where changes can be made. If you have already taken the step of hiring an elder care provider – such as those from Visiting Angels – they can help with this part of the process. Remember that small changes can pay big dividends, helping you avoid the costs of nursing care and extend the time spent in comfortable, familiar surroundings.
Design Tips for Aging at Home