How to Make a Home Accessible for a Senior
As seniors age, it can become apparent that their homes need to be adjusted. What was manageable for a 50-year-old may become more and more difficult, even just 10 years down the line. If you feel stuck and don’t know where to start, consider the following to help make the senior in your life more comfortable.
This may not apply to everyone, but one of the things to consider when beginning a home-modification project is wheelchair accessibility. Even if your senior loved one has no mobility issues now, as they age, things may change. If you can make only one improvement to give their home wheelchair accessibility, choose the entrance. A ramp is often affordable and can be installed quickly as well. Don’t forget to add non-slip flooring or rugs that can provide grip for wheels or walkers. Door handles are usually at a height that is uncomfortable for those in wheelchairs, so lowering doorknobs may be another alteration to make.
There are seemingly infinite modifications you can make to their bathroom. Some may be useful, while others are less suitable to their specific needs. At the very least, adding stability or grab bars in key places is a must. They are cheap, effective, and easy to install. If your senior loved one relies on a wheelchair or walker, adjusting the height of their sinks (in the kitchen, too) and having an adaptable shower or tub may be beneficial. These modifications are best left to contractors and professionals. Talk to several before choosing whom you will hire, try to get many references, and read reviews extensively.
Change the Interior
Home adjustments are not all changes to the structure of your home itself. Sometimes, all it takes is a bit of tweaking inside. Narrow pathways can be hard for anyone to navigate, yet a simple rearranging of furniture can make all the difference in the world. If there’s carpet, you may need more than non-slip pads to give extra stability. Pull-out drawers in the kitchen and bedrooms offer greater ease of use, rather than having to bend and search through a cabinet. Even adding more lighting throughout the home can enhance your senior’s quality of life and make being home easier. If you are worried that making these changes to the home could decrease your property’s value, don’t be. Experts across the country are proving that accessible homes sell.
If your senior loved one is burdened by the size of their home or its layout, it may be time to consider downsizing. The idea of moving homes, especially if they have lived in their current house for many years, may be troubling, but the benefits can be numerous. Having less property to maintain is easier than looking after a house designed for an entire family. A smaller yard, for instance, means less yardwork. No stairs mean less strain on joints. A smaller floor plan means less vacuuming and sweeping. Every bit adds up.
That being said, it’s important to take your time when looking at listings in your area. Determine the approximate cost of buying a new home in their chosen city and develop a budget from there. Consider how much they can make from the sale of their current home and how much they will save on maintenance of a smaller property.
Making so many changes can appear intimidating, but it does not need to be. Determine what will work best for your senior loved one, speak to several experts, and go from there. You may only need a change of hardware in their home, or you may decide that a smaller home is their best bet.
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