Aging is a part of life for all of us, and learning how to make your home a safe place for seniors is important not only for ourselves, but also for our senior family members and friends. So how do you go about making your home suitable for aging in place?
Let’s start with bathrooms.
Install shower chairs/benches, or consider installing a walk-in tub.
Non-slip (also known as non-skid) pads/mats are relatively inexpensive and offer great traction in areas that are prone to slip and falls such as inside showers and tubs, and around toilets and sinks.
Install hand rails in the shower/tub and near toilets.
Vessel sinks (looks like a bowl on top of a counter) or pedestal sinks have less surface area to hold on to, and in the case of vessel sinks have edges that can be very harmful. Consider switching to regular drop-in, under-mount, or counter sinks as these are large and can give you something to hold on to or lean on.
In rooms and bedrooms:
Make sure lights are easily accessible. Make sure there are lamps near beds, if you have floor standing lamps make sure the cables are not in any walkways. There are light switch that have small LED lights to allow you to find them in the dark, consider installing these.
Use gripper pads on rugs and mats and don’t forget hallway rugs if you have them.
Use night lights to illuminate paths to bedrooms, bathrooms, and exits.
In the kitchen:
Get a long handled reach extender to help you get items on and off shelves.
Put all your bigger, heavier appliances within reach on counter tops and store lighter appliances in cabinets.
Make sure stair and steps, both inside and outside of the home, are well lit.
Have an escape plan for fire, earthquake, or any other emergency situation, and make sure everyone knows about it.
Make sure you have fire extinguishers in an easily accessible part of the kitchen, and if you enjoy having a real tree during the holidays make sure you have an extinguisher near it.
Have a carbon monoxide detector with audible alarm install.
Have fire and smoke detectors outside every bedroom and make sure to test and change the batteries at least once a year. In some areas the fire department will do this service for you, free of charge so call your local fire department and ask if this is available where you live.
Some of these changes would be difficult to make on your own and you may need to look for a professional to do this. To help address this, we at Karpoff Affiliates provide a service called Aging in Place. We would come to home and explore all the options with you and can provide install/modification services should you decide to go ahead with it. To learn more, please visit http://karpoffaffiliates.com/senior-transition-services/aging-in-place/ or give us a call at 212.358.8044.