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Most homes are built with the concept of young children and adults in mind. Yet the reality is that the elderly have special concerns and changing needs that must be addressed. Households must, therefore, strive to focus on improving their self-sufficiency and self-reliance.
First of all, eliminate clutter, such as extension cords, wires, rugs and others, out of pathways and replace uneven or worn-down tiles to prevent falls.
Install grab bars on shower walls and near the toilet to provide support for the person to use the washroom without assistance. Instead of a traditional tub or shower, which requires a person to cross over, invest in walk-in showers or tubs that are wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair, if required. You may consider lowering the sinks and elevating toilets. Include built-in benches and non-slip tiles for ease and comfort to reduce the risk of falling.
In the kitchen, adding grab bars onto the walls is a great way to reduce the risk of slipping. Outdated appliances, such as ovens and stoves, present a safety hazard and can be difficult to use so replace them with newer and user-friendly models. You may also lower countertops, sinks and other work spaces.
Mobility is a huge factor for the elderly. Add ramps to entrances and widen doorways for wheelchair-bound people or for those who use walkers to pass through easily. For homes with long and winding or steep staircases, stair lifts are the answer. One may also invest in garage lifts for seniors to gain entry to the house from the garage.
Lastly, you may take a closer look at your home’s existing fixtures. Replace small knobs and switches with larger and easier-to-grasp versions. Lighting is very important to reduce accidents at home. Ensure to use proper lighting in most parts of the house like the stairway, bathroom, kitchen, living room and outdoor areas.
Simple home modifications or additions can make a huge difference in your elderly loved ones’ safety and lives in general.
*Homes with senior adults should be modified for easy mobility and safety
* Install a stair lift for wheelchair-bound occupants or those with limited mobility
* Non-skid strips can be used in all spaces where the floor becomes slippery
Source: Saadiya Ahmad, Special to Properties
The writer is a freelancer