Creating a safe and comfortable environment for elderly individuals is a vital part of every aging-in-place plan. Fortunately, there are a number of creative ways to make your home easier to use and navigate for seniors with mobility challenges. Best of all, many of these improvements will increase the functionality of the home for all residents. Here are a few creative ways to increase senior safety around the house.
Have a Wet Room Installed
Wet rooms are becoming increasingly popular among residential property owners. In a wet room, the toilet is elevated above floor level so wheelchair users can easily access it, the standard bathtub and/or shower enclosures are removed, and the floor and walls are coated with a slip-resistant waterproof material. The bathroom floor is then angled toward a central drain, and showerheads are installed throughout. This creates one large safe space for bathing that’s ideal for family members of all ages. A wet room is also an ideal space to install a chair or bench for your senior loved one to use while bathing.
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Install Soft-Sided Hanging Dressers
Heavy dresser drawers are a common but little-known hazard. Changes in mobility and fine motor coordination can make it difficult for seniors to find and handle their clothing without the risk of heavy drawers sliding out completely or causing the entire unit to tip. There are a number of inexpensive soft-sided hanging dressers that can be placed in closets instead, making clothing visible and easy to access.
Create a Universal & Layered Lighting Design
One of the best ways to enhance senior safety is by increasing visibility throughout all areas of the home. Implementing a universal and layered lighting design will make each room and hallway far more adaptable. This plan can include overhead lighting, task lighting, and complementary lighting such as wall sconces and track lights. When indoor areas are sufficiently illuminated, identifying and avoiding physical obstacles will be much easier.
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Install Shelves or Seats at the Front Door
Giving seniors a convenient place to rest or place their belongings after arriving home can prevent trips and falls and allow them to get their bearings after climbing stairs, searching for their keys, and navigating raised entries. These low-cost additions encourage seniors to slow down, take a break, and focus on individual tasks.
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