In this day and age, an increasing number of seniors are making the decision to stay in their own homes as they age. Staying at home allows for greater independence but can also lead to a number of complications. There is a variety of home health care providers who can help deliver companionship and other services but to be truly comfortable and safe in your home it may be necessary to make some physical alterations. As mobility, eyesight, and hearing decline, these alterations can allow you to stay in your home safely and securely. Some changes can be made on your own, like removing area rugs to avoid tripping, but others may require the help of a contractor. For this article, we will focus on the top 7 changes that will most likely require the assistance of a contractor.
As mobility decreases the use of a walker or wheelchair may become necessary. I
n this case, all e
ntrance doors must be at least 36 inches wide and all interior doors must be at least 32 inches wide. If your doors are not the proper width it will make it difficult and sometimes impossible to maneuver, which mak
es it necessary to widen doorways.
Many types of flooring become tripping and falling hazards as mobility decreases. High pile carpets and slippery flooring can increase the risk of slips and falls and should be replaced with flooring that is easier, and safer, to walk on.
Raising Sunken Rooms
As eyesight and mobility weaken it may become more difficult to differentiate between levels, which creates a dangerous tripping hazard. Maneuvering between levels with a wheel chair, cane, or walker can be extremely difficult as well so it is best to raise the sunken room so all the floors are level.
If mobility is not an issue, it is possible to simply change the flooring between the rooms to contrasting colors. If there is any change in height or flooring texture that could result in a slip or trip it is important that you change the flooring to contrasting colors so that it is easier to see the transition.
Another important addition for your home is grab bars. They can assist with balance and standing as well as provide assistance when sitting down. These are mostly found in bathrooms and kitchens but can also be placed around the house where needed if there is sufficient room. Though these can be installed by the home- owner, to insure they are secure and properly installed it is recommended that you get the help of a professional.
One of the most important changes to make as vision declines is increasing lighting. In some places, it may be possible to simply add lamps but due to limited space it may be necessary to install additional
Lowering Counters and Cabinets
If a wheelchair has become necessary, countertops may be difficult to reach and accessing cabinets and storage may be more problematic. If necessary, counters should be lowered to an appropriate height and the installation of
under counter cabinets
may be required.