Remember that every home renovation project should strive to improve the quality of life for everyone who lives in it, especially the elderly. There are a lot of things to consider, like whether or not the changes will be practical and safe for your loved ones, as well as whether they will actually enjoy living in the new space. One tip to make an efficient elderly-friendly home: Renovate for yourself, not just for your parents. Besides your age is only going to head in one direction. It can be difficult to renovate a home to make it more elderly friendly, so here are a few tips to help you get started.
1. Choose slip-resistant floors: Slippery floors can be a major hazard for elderly individuals. Choose non-slip floor tiles in specific areas like bathrooms and entryways, and don’t forget about non-skid mats. You should opt for flooring that is easy to clean and maintain for the long term. For your floor, you may want to switch to low-pile carpeting. Like elderly facilities, you can also use rubber or vinyl flooring.
2. Add handrails and grab bars: Adding handrails in the bathroom, along staircases, and throughout the home can make it easier for elderly people to move around safely. Grab bars installed near toilets, showers, and bathtubs also provide extra support and stability while bathing or using the restroom.
3. Install adjustable lighting: Poor lighting can make it hard to see obstacles or hazards in the home, so replacing existing lighting with adjustable fixtures can help elderly individuals see their environment better. A lack of adequate lighting is one factor that can compromise a home’s safety. Working areas such as the kitchen and library, among others, should be well-lit. To bring natural light into your home, choose panoramic glass windows.
Position user-friendly, rocker-type light switches and plug points in a convenient spot for children and the elderly. If moving around at night cannot be avoided, motion sensor lights might come in handy. Motion-activated lights will turn on when someone enters the area and automatically shut off after a certain amount of time. Consider placing sun tunnels for the hallway if you can and opt for glass balusters for your stairwells. You can also install LED lights on walls or steps.
4. Consider wider doorways: Wider doorways make it easier for wheelchairs or walkers to pass through, so if possible, consider widening existing doors or installing new ones that accommodate mobility aids. Make entryways 3.5 feet wide for ease in wheelchair accessibility. Your bathroom should be wide enough to accommodate its size. You may also want to switch to bifold doors. They are easy to use and allow the elderly with walkers and wheelchairs to conveniently move around. Choose door levers over knobs as twisting the doorknobs can be arduous for seniors.
5. Add ramps: These additions are not just beneficial for the elderly but for parents who use baby strollers. For specific dimensions and standards, refer to your local city council.
6. Make use of technology: Smart home devices like voice-activated assistants and automatic light switches can be incredibly helpful for elderly people who have difficulty reaching or seeing manual controls. Investing in these types of devices can make life much easier and safer for your loved ones.
By following these tips, you can create an elderly-friendly home that is both safe and enjoyable to live in. With the right renovations as you age, your loved ones will be able to move around freely and comfortably in their own space.