The eldercare service industry has changed overnight. Instead of moving into a retirement home, seniors would rather spend their sunset years around familiar faces. And who wouldn’t? Being surrounded by family, seeing grandchildren run around, and talking to people they’ve known for years does sound like the ideal environment for retirement. Seniors often feel lonely at a retirement home because they’re so far from their loved ones.
While this decision sounds like it’s pretty easy to make, transforming their home into a safer and more accessible place requires a little more effort. Like decreased mobility and poorer eyesight, problems that come with aging can pose risks to seniors if their home isn’t ready for them.
Some people need more care than others. For instance, if they have received a settlement from long-term disability claims, you’ll want to make sure that their home has the right accommodations for their disabilities.
The right upgrades will help them feel more welcome in their own home, and they can better respond to the changes in their lives. And you won’t have to feel like you have to keep watching them like a hawk. We’ve made a list of tips to help make your home safer and more accessible.
1. Start with the floor
A big risk for seniors is floors and surfaces that could cause them to slip and fall. Flooring that offers more stability can help you curb the possibility of them getting into an accident. You might want to say goodbye to your polished tile flooring for now and say hello to soft carpeting. This kind of carpeting helps provide a layer of safety and will break a fall better than a normal hard surface will.
Rubber mats in bathrooms and around places that require them to turn a corner can also help ease the worry of them slipping over. An option, of course, is to replace your flooring altogether, and a few good options are vinyl or linoleum. They are not hard to maintain, and they offer more stability while being smooth enough not to impede walker or wheelchair movement.
2. Upgrade the bathroom
Perfectly healthy adults slip on puddles in the bathroom; imagine what a wet spot or a stray towel could do to someone with decreased mobility. Add a few holder bars and a shower bench to make seniors more comfortable while in the bathroom. Anti-slip mats and adjusted shelves can also help them move around easily.
Of course, with age comes chronic muscle and joint pains. One big upgrade that could make all the difference is a walk-in bath. These baths have handles and bars seniors can hold onto, and there is more leg space for them to stretch. Walk-in baths also come with jets that can be used to massage aching muscles. It’s on the pricier end of the spectrum in terms of upgrades, but it’s a good investment for your seniors and the rest of the family.
3. Remove nonessential items
You might want to transfer things that get in the way of moving around, such as side tables or large indoor plants. That way, you lessen the risk of seniors bumping into them. Ease of access must be improved to make moving around easier and safer for seniors.
You might want to eschew rugs, as well. Rugs often get kicked into a rumpled mess which can be easy to overlook. One can easily slip if one isn’t careful. If you must keep them, install rubber grips under them so that they don’t move when your seniors walk on them. Grip tape is also a more affordable alternative, and you can adjust the tape’s length to fit the rug’s size and shape.
4. Invest in a smart home system
Technological advancements make things easier when it comes to welcoming seniors into their homes. An automated home system means having an upgraded light and cleaning system controlled by a handy remote.
Lights can be brightened or dimmed to a comfortable level that isn’t too harsh on older eyes, and they won’t have to get up to locate switches and buttons. Voice commands can even activate some systems. Switching to a smart home setup will surely make things easier for you and them.
A final word
Geriatric care has advanced in the past few years. It’s now easier to take care of older family members without shelling out too much cash. Welcoming them back home is the best thing you could offer in their later years, so make their experience as safe and as comfortable as possible.