For many seniors, health issues can lead to mobility problems, making it increasingly difficult to get around the house or perform daily tasks. Often, these issues aren’t serious, but sometimes they can lead to falls or serious injuries. That’s why it’s imperative to look for ways to make modifications for safety inside the home.
If you have senior parents or other loved ones who are dealing with a loss of mobility, it’s a good idea to walk through the home to see what sort of changes could be made that would assist them with everyday activities. These don’t have to be costly; some modifications are simple and can be done in a day or two. Make a point when visiting to observe how Mom and Dad get around the house. Input from the doctor and other health care professionals may give you insight on your parents’ abilities and areas of difficulty. Do some research to find out what the best options are for your loved ones and set a budget. Here are a few tips on how to get started.
Preventing injuries is a major factor in making home modifications for seniors. You want the environment to be as safe, accessible, and convenient as possible, so look for areas where grab bars would be necessary -- such as the bathroom and shower -- and pay special attention to flooring. Throw rugs can be a trip hazard, while thick carpeting can cause issues for seniors with mobility issues. Hardwood or laminate is one of the best ways to go, and you can put down rubber-backed mats to prevent slips.
While this can be a more costly modification, it’s important for seniors who use a wheelchair or other equipment for mobility. Many older homes weren’t built with the same measurement standards that homes have today, so depending on how old the house is, this may be a requirement for your loved ones to move around the home easily.
Ramps can significantly help your loved one with their mobility, both inside and outside the home. Anywhere that stairs or elevated areas are present, a ramp should be added to prevent falls and to allow your loved one freedom of movement. There are several different kinds of ramps available, or you can build your own. Take into consideration whether you need something that’s all-weather and how to measure the area you’ll be changing.
Fix the Lighting
It’s something that can often be overlooked in seniors’ homes: the absence of good lighting. Many seniors have vision issues, but even those who don’t can benefit from enhanced lighting around the home, especially in the kitchen and bathroom and on the path to the front door. Replace older bulbs with energy-efficient ones; look for “daylight” bulbs that will give the home a soft, bright glow.
Look for Funding
Depending on what state your loved one lives in, there may be grants or loans available to help offset the cost of home modifications. The laws vary from state to state, but you can find more information here.
Keeping your senior loved one safe and happy will give you peace of mind and will allow them to live their best life. Just make sure to do some research before you get started, and talk to your loved one about their specific needs before making any changes. With some good planning and the right budget, you can help your loved one take care of their physical and mental needs safely.
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