You read a lot about designing a home to keep your parents safe while they get older. Is a home design truly effective at heightening safety? With an estimated 25 percent of older Americans falling each year, a few home modifications can make a big difference. Here are the modifications that deserve a closer look.
Bright lighting is an easy, effective way to help stop falls. Obstacles like a pet, shoe, or furnishing can disappear into a shadowy, poorly lit area. With bright lighting illuminating the floor, you lower the risk of falls on stairs, entryways, and window-less hallways.
If the power goes out, you should consider what happens. Flashlights should be readily available. Solar or battery-powered emergency lighting is also important. LED lights that run on battery power and adhere to floor-level trim, under cabinets, and stair risers all help make sure there’s lighting in a power outage.
When your parents have a hard time bending over, a floor-level outlet isn’t ideal. If they’re having to bend or squat to plug something in, they may have a hard time getting back up. It may cause pain.
Look into the cost of moving outlets to a higher point on the wall. Kitchen outlets are already going to be high enough, but your parents may enjoy having a higher outlet for their computer, reading lamps, or space heater/air conditioner units.
Lever Door Handles
A round doorknob can be hard to grasp when arthritis is present. It’s also harder to grab when you’re in a wheelchair. A lever door handle is easier to use. You don’t have to grasp it to make it work. Using an elbow or side of the arm, you can push down a lever handle and open a door.
Shower and Bath Safety
Shower stalls, bathtubs, or combination shower/tub units need to be safe for your parents. They need to have grab bars inside and outside the bathing area. They need anti-slip tiles and shower mats. A hand-held shower wand also makes bathing easier.
If mobility is becoming harder to manage, a shower seat with suction cups is essential. Finally, make sure the bathroom door opens to the outside. If your parent falls, you don’t want their body blocking the door from opening.
As abilities change, you should discuss elderly care services. Your parents may be ready to have someone helping with housework, transportation, and meals. They may simply like the idea of weekly companionship visits. Talk to our elderly care agency to learn more about the prices and services in your area.