An elder-friendly home is safe and convenient for those over the age of 65 vans for those who may have mobility issues. Homes that aren’t considered elder-friendly have many hidden dangers that can cause an elder to fall, which is a top cause of injury and death among those over the age of 65. Everyone can benefit from living in an elder-friendly home, and many home renovations are so subtle that you wouldn’t even know that the house has been altered to meet the needs of those with mobility issues. Here are some of the most stylish and trendy elder-friendly home upgrades.
The second most common place for elder falls occurs in the bathroom, and stepping over into (or out of) a bathtub is one way for seniors to experience a bathroom fall. An easy fix is to install grab bars inside the shower and maybe even add a shower chair. However, this still doesn’t fix the problem of steeping in and out of the shower/bath, which is still concerning for those with mobility issues.
This is why a walk-in bathtub or shower would be a better solution, and you can still install grab bars and use a shower chair. While walk-in bathtubs may not be as popular in most households, walk-in showers are becoming more popular— and they’re also associated with luxury! Walk-in showers can be designed to fit any decor style as well.
Most would probably assume that soft, plush carpeting is the most elder-friendly home flooring, but it can be hazardous. Thicker carpets are more likely to be a tripping hazard, resulting in a fall. They also tend to snag wheels on walkers and wheelchairs. Even lower cut carpets can pose these same problems— plus, carpet is harder to clean and maintain.
Real wood floors are too hard, and cork flooring (although much softer) is hard to maintain and isn’t water-resistant. As far as safety and maintenance go, vinyl flooring is the best option for an elder-friendly home. It’s not as hard as hardwood or laminate flooring, and you can add a cork layer underneath for more cushion. Other benefits of vinyl flooring include:
- Easy to maintain
- Multiple finishes to choose from
- Very durable
- You can install them in every room of the home
Stress-Free Sleep Space
Bedrooms can hold some potential hazards to the elderly and those with mobility issues. Bed frames and mattresses shouldn’t be too high off the ground, and grab bars installed next to the bed can make getting out of bed easier. These types of grab bars will extend vertically, reaching from the ceiling to the floor.
It’s a good idea to invest in a luxury mattress to ensure a less stressful sleep, as many luxury mattresses can tailor themselves to the individual’s needs. Also, mattresses shouldn’t be too soft, nor should they be too firm. Mattresses that are too soft can trap a senior in the bed, whereas a really firm mattress can make it difficult to sleep.
The most commonplace for elder falls is on stairs, both in and away from home. Fortunately, many commercial buildings offer elevators, ramps, and other accessible ways to travel from one floor to another. Still, multi-story homes don’t always accommodate this need.
Some individuals choose to install a stairlift, but a home elevator could be just as effective. These days, most residential elevators are very easy to install, and they aren’t big and bulky like commercial elevators. You’ll be able to travel easily between the floors of your home, and you won’t even have to have your stairs removed. There will be options on how the people in your home can get from one story to another.
These are just a few of the elder-friendly home upgrades that are recommended. Others include having different countertop heights in the kitchen, making it easy for those who depend on a wheelchair and switching all twisting doorknobs to levers so those with wrist problems or weaker muscles can open doors. Ramps should also be installed outside the home for wheelchair/walker access.
Elder-friendly home improvements can benefit people of all ages. It’s even a good idea to start converting your home now if you plan on ageing in place or staying in your home as you get older.