Statistics show that most Americans prefer to age in place in their home as they get older. They prefer the comfort of their home where memories have been created and things are familiar. Here’s a list to get you thinking about some home modifications that can help your loved one stay safe at home longer and age in place.
- Install grab bars or safety rails for support when getting in/out of tub/shower – never use towel racks or shower curtain rods instead of grab bars.
- Apply non-slip strips on bathtub and shower floors.
- Use bathmats and rugs with non-skid backings.
- Use an adjustable-height shower seat rather than standing, if necessary.
- Install an adjustable height or handheld showerhead.
- Turn down the water temperature on the hot water heater to 120 degrees to prevent scalding.
- Consider a raised toilet seat or grab bar to make getting up and down easier; ensure toilet paper is in easy reach.
- Avoid locking the bathroom door when bathing to allow quicker access to you in case of a fall.
- Widen or clear pathways through the bedroom – arrange furniture to create open space.
- Make sure all electrical cords have been cleared from paths.
- Place smoke detectors outside of bedrooms on each level of the home.
- Keep a phone with a cord within easy reach of the bed cordless phones aren’t useable when the electricity goes out.
- Post a list of emergency numbers near the phone; include current medications, dates prescribed and the pharmacy phone number.
- Secure rug edges with double-sided tape or get rid of scatter rugs.
- Make sure you can switch on a lamp before leaving bed to illuminate the path to the bathroom.
- If you feel unstable at night or fear falling, carry a cordless phone with you as you move about.
- If a low bed makes it difficult to get up, consider using risers to elevate the bed.
- Don’t wear loose sleeves when cooking.
- Use a timer when cooking or baking, so you don’t forget that something is cooking.
- Consider a long-handled dustpan/broom combination to reduce bending.
- If you use a rug on the floor in front of the sink, use a rubber-backed mat.
- If you have difficulty reading stove and oven knobs, investigate large-sized controls through vision support organizations.
- Install cupboard door handles that are easy to grasp, such as D-type handles.
- Store frequently used items in easy-to-reach cabinets and on countertops.
- Increase kitchen lighting over task areas such as countertops, stove, and sink.
- Have a seated workspace available.
- Create a safe place to rest hot food immediately as you remove it from the microwave.
- Living Room and Throughout the Home
Increase lighting at entryways
- Leave lights on in rooms or hallways that you walk through after dark. (High-efficiency bulbs and motion sensors at doorways are economical lighting solutions.)
- Change to lever-type door handles if knobs are difficult to grasp or manipulate.
- Install no step, no trip thresholds at doorways.
- Install peepholes on exterior doors that are the right height for the homeowner.
- Install handles and locks on all windows that are easy to grip at the right height.
- Make sure all railings are sturdy and that handrails are on both sides of all stairs.
- Secure all rug edges with double-sided tape or consider getting rid of scatter rugs.
- If vision problems are a concern, create visual contrast on stair risers with paint or tape.
- Make sure homeowners can see and use climate controls (thermostats, air-conditioning units.
There is no place like home! Creating a safe environment for your aging loved one will ensure their safety and health well into the future. Don’t wait to consider these changes.