Home Upgrades Will Keep Your Loved Ones Safe As They Age

Every year, surveys indicate that the majority of Americans prefer to age in place. But while growing old at home may be more pleasant for the average individual, it can also be unsafe as every year, over 3 million seniors are treated for falls, and the majority of these accidents occur inside the home. Having a safe and comfortable living space is essential if your parents or relatives want to continue living in their current home until their golden years. Consider these home upgrades to keep your loved ones safe as they age in place. 

Bathroom remodel for safety

Financial experts say that those who want to manage their expenses during retirement should know the difference between discretionary and essential spending. If your loved one plans to age in place, let them know that doing a home renovation is categorized as an essential expense as not only does it add to a house’s aesthetic value, but it may also prevent falls and other accidents in the future. That being said, a full home renovation can be costly, but there’s a way to manage the expense, and that’s by prioritizing certain rooms such as the bathroom.

A bathroom that’s designed for aging in place should have grab bars as they provide support and leverage, so your loved one is less likely to slip as they get in and out of the shower or while they get up from the toilet. It should also have non-slip tiles in the shower-- right now, there are plenty of options for tiles with non-slip finishes, and there are even ones that mimic the look of natural stone or wood. The bathroom should also be well-lit to prevent accidents, so apart from the overhead light, there should be additional lighting in the shower area and the bathroom counter. Also, consider adding wall sconces on either side of the bathroom mirror to provide added lighting for tasks such as brushing and shaving. 

Kitchen upgrades to improve functionality

When modifying a kitchen for senior living, it’s essential to think about how your parent or relative will use the space to ensure that it’s safe, yet still perfectly functional. For instance, your loved one may have no difficulties reaching for items stored inside high cabinets for now, but this simple task can become more difficult with age. A pullout pantry makes storing and reaching for items much easier, and it’s a better option than installing cabinets under the sink as your loved one doesn’t have to bend down to grab something inside it while making meals. 

Meanwhile, replacing an old sink with a shallow model makes washing produce and dishes easier for seniors as it puts less strain on their back. Replacing existing countertops, tables, and open shelving with ones that have rounded edges can also help to avoid having bumps and bruises while cooking. Also, make sure to place small appliances such as the microwave, oven toaster, mixer, and coffee maker at counter height to minimize the need to bend or stretch while using these devices. 

Bedroom makeover for better sleep

As we age, our sleep patterns change and most people find that as they get older, they spend less time having a deep and restful sleep. This is why a bedroom makeover is essential for those who intend to age in place as a room that’s conducive to rest and relaxation can improve sleep quality. The best place for a senior’s bedroom is the ground floor, but if creating a new room in the main floor isn’t possible, then installing a chair lift that will take your loved one from the ground floor to the second floor is the next best thing that could be done. Installing safety rails on the bed can also help your loved one to be safe while they get in and out of bed. Adding lighting in dark areas, such as corridors, inside the closet, and beside the bed can also help to prevent tripping. Meanwhile, replacing area rugs with a full carpet will prevent slipping and insulate the space against noise, and it also adds comfort and coziness to the bedroom. 

Home exterior remodel for accessibility

One part of the home that often gets neglected during a complete renovation is the exterior. But as getting in and out of the home becomes more difficult as we get older, your loved one’s outdoor space should be one of the places that gets prioritized when remodeling. Doorways should be made wider to allow access for a wheelchair or walker, and a ramp that’s outfitted with handrails will make getting out of the house easier for wheelchair users. It’s also important to illuminate the outdoor space well to avoid tripping or falling, and have some security lighting around the property so that burglars will be deterred from breaking and entering into the home. For increased safety, consider installing a smart doorbell with a camera on the front door. This device will let your parent or relative know who’s on the other side of the door without having to open it themselves. 

Senior-friendly home accessories for all areas 

Some accessories can work well for all areas of the home if you’re renovating a house for a person who wants to age in place. For instance, wide drawer pulls or D-shaped pulls are better than traditional knobs as these are easier to grasp, so consider replacing all cabinet and drawer knobs with this type of drawer pull. You can also replace all traditional switch plates with lighted ones to make the switches easier to find in the dark. Task lighting in frequently used rooms can also help to make everyday activities safer for your loved ones. And lastly, adding loose pile carpeting or anti-slip flooring to all areas can prevent seniors from experiencing nasty slips or falls. 

Aging in place can improve a senior’s quality of life, and it can increase happiness as they can be near their loved ones and enjoy the company of their friends and family every single day. Try these home remodeling tips to make your parent or relative's house fit for aging in place, which will keep them safe as they grow gracefully into their golden years. 

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