More seniors than ever are deciding to age in place, meaning they are choosing to remain in their own homes rather than move into nursing homes and other similar facilities. Senior home care can make this decision much easier on the elderly and their families. However, your loved one may also be living with health challenges that need extra care and attention.
Physical limitations certainly increase with age. The Institute on Aging says that of men between 65 and 74, 13 percent say they are unable to perform at least one activity of daily living (ADL), compared with 40 percent of men over the age of 85; 19 percent of women age 65 to 74 say they are unable to perform at least one ADL, compared with 53 percent of those over the age of 85.
There’s good news though: modifications can be made so a home remains senior-friendly. Check out these four.
1. Change Hardware
You may not think twice about turning a doorknob, but your aging senior certainly does, especially if they suffer from severe arthritis. This makes a simple act of twisting a doorknob a painful and difficult task. You won’t spend much to replace doorknobs and faucets with lever-type hardware to make their lives just a little bit easier. Another wise choice is to use illuminated rocker switches rather than standard toggle light switches.
2. Ensure Floors are Slip Resistant
Slippery surfaces present a high safety risk for anyone, but especially aging seniors. Ensure all floors are slip-resistant; you can do this with just a few modifications. Add non-skid mats underneath area rugs, or simply remove area rugs, which are tripping hazards. Eliminate or modify trip points wherever you can, including thresholds between rooms. If your senior uses a walker, you may want to think about installing low-pile carpeting to guard against falls, suggests This Old House.
3. Put in Additional Lighting
Dim lighting leads to spills, falls, trips and other dangers. Consider adding nightlights along hallways, in closets, and in kitchens, bed rooms and bathrooms. If your senior loved one lives in a home with several stories, make sure stairways are well lit. While you’re at it, you should install hand rails on both sides of the stairs, top to bottom. Make sure those steps are defined, clearly showing the edge of the tread.
4. Upgrade the Bathroom
Showers and tubs are both dangerous places for people who have trouble balancing. Install grab bars in the shower to make it easier to enter and exit. You should also install grab bars by the toilet, sink, or anywhere else your loved one may need extra help. Consider installing a step-in shower to replace their tub. A single-handled faucet control goes a long way toward reducing the risk of scalding when at the sink, and a pressure-balanced control offers the same safety precautions in the shower. Put in a hand-held shower-head or seat for anyone who has limited mobility.
There are many things that you can do to make your home more senior friendly. From replacing worn out carpeting, to buying a senior-friendly cordless phone, to clearing walking paths, the options are limitless. But do not get overwhelmed. Take it one day at a time and be sure to call an expert if you need the help.
Senior home care is made easier when you have Divine Home Care Services on your side. We offer a wide variety of home care services that will help your loved one, from bathing and hygiene to transferring and meal prep. Contact us today to learn more.