How to Make a Home Accessible for Elderly Parents
Many things that can be done to make a home more accessible for elderly parents.
Accessibility design often doesn’t get the attention it deserves, and it’s baffling when considering the fast-aging population. The number of elderly who are 65 and over is set to double over the next 40 years, and accessibility will soon need to be a priority for both current homeowners with elderly parents living with them and those who wish to make their homes more attractive for buyers in the future.
Thankfully, if you are a senior with mobility issues and you are trying to make your home more comfortable, making a house accessible doesn’t necessarily have to be costly and can also be made by making a few simple adjustments. Here are some easy ways to make your home more senior-friendly. Let’s dive right in.
Invest in a Walk-In Shower
If you want to immediately make your home more accessible, then investing in a walk-in shower is one of the best investments you could make. Walk-in showers are not only a great option for seniors, but they are often the only option if you’re suffering from limited mobility. There are walk-in showers today that are easily accessible for people with walkers or wheelchairs and they will not detract from the look of a modern bathroom.
Make the Kitchen as Functional as Possible
When building an accessible kitchen, the emphasis is on functionality, but also on making sure to minimize movements that could lead to discomfort or injuries. You want to reduce the need for crouching and bending as much as possible, and hopefully, still be able to make it esthetically pleasing.
Manual dexterity naturally decreases as we get older, so you have to find a way to make the appliances as easy to use as possible. Try to switch appliances and go for easy to read controls and user-friendly push-button interfaces. Another great addition would be to switch to a wall or side swing oven. This will prevent you from having to lift heavy objects from the oven and make it more accessible.
You also have to make sure that your pantry is senior-friendly. You could consider switching to an open shelving design that will make access much easier. Roll out trays and Lazy Susans will improve accessibility as well.
Entryways can be problematic to a lot of seniors, especially those with limited mobility. You want to remove any sort of barriers and make it as easy as possible to get in if you’re using a wheelchair or a walker. You also want to make sure that it’s as safe as possible no matter the weather or time of day.
The first thing that you should do is convert your current entry into a ‘no step’ entrance. You should also make sure to add no step thresholds. Just making these few modifications will make the home much more accessible.
There are also many things that you can do to improve the safety of the entryway. For one, you have to make sure that it’s well lit, and that the pathways are clearly visible at any time of the day. Make sure that surfaces outside the home are either scuffed or covered with non-slip strips to reduce the chances of tripping. You should also keep an eye on any cracks in the pavement and the driveway, as they could cause someone using a walker to fall.
Make the Stairs as Safe as Possible
Ideally, you’ll want to have some sort of stairlift if you want the stairs to be as safe for you as possible. However, this is not something that is within everyone’s budget. An alternative you could consider is installing rails on both sides of the stairs. This is a great option if you’re not extremely limited but still want a little more support. You should also take steps to increase stair visibility. This can be done by adding contrast strips both at the top and bottom of the stairs. You also want to create contrast between the risers and treads.
Just making these few adjustments could make your home much more accessible and senior-friendly. We strongly suggest that you consider one or all of these options if you want to make your home more comfortable and safer.