Whether you have parents that are aging, house guests that are seniors, or if you need to adapt your house for your own needs, most of us will someday start thinking about making our homes a safer place to navigate. Making your home more elder-friendly means more than just installing a ramp to your front door. There are likely many obstacles in your home that can cause problems for those with mobility issues. In this article we'll show you some simple ways to make a home a safer place for seniors and those with limited mobility.
StairsStairs are the most obvious and most important thing to consider when making your home senior friendly. You probably have at least three sets of stairs in your home, but some people have many more. When it comes to making stairs safe for seniors and those with limited mobility you have three main options: Chair lift - If someone needs to get up a long flight of stairs, chair lifts are the most useful item to have in your home. These are expensive additions to a home, however, so you probably wouldn't want to invest in one unless it is a permanent alteration. Ramp - Ramps are great for outside stairways. At the very least you should have one ramp leading to your house. These can be assembled temporarily as well, which makes having a ramp a good option if you have a house guest with limited mobility. Alter current stairs - All stairs that remain in your home should have sturdy rails. If your stairways don't have any, installing rails is a good idea in general. Steps should have nonstick surfaces. You can buy an adhesive grip at most hardware stores. Rearrange - If your house guest is only staying for a short while it doesn't make sense to build ramps or buy an expensive chair lift. Instead, make sure they can access their bedroom and bathroom all on the ground floor. If that means switching bedrooms for a week, it's a much safer option that making them risk stairways daily.
Bathroom safetyThere are a number of small changes you can make in your bathroom to make it more accessible to those with limited mobility. Here are a few that every homeowner should make:
- Use slip resistant grip in the tub
- Leave bathroom lights on overnight to avoid trips
- Install a medical alert button in the bathroom within reach of the tub
- Make sure your bathroom door locks can be opened from both sides in case of emergency
- Practice good communication and awareness
General home safetyAside from stairs and bathrooms, the home has a number of other dangers that we often take for granted. Some good practices include:
- Remove slippery rugs from floors
- Clear walking spaces of clutter, moving furniture if you have to
- Have your guest let you know or accompany them when they're walking outside on dangerous surfaces
- Make your guest aware of things like fire extinguishers, telephones, and first aid kits