5 ways Seniors Can Modify Their Homes to Age in Place Without Worry
Guest Blog Post WRITTEN BY Sharon Wagner of seniorfriendly.info.
When it comes to improving quality of life for seniors, aging in place at home is hard to beat. To age in place safely though, certain modifications must be made to different areas of the home. Reducing falls and health hazards are the primary focus of home modifications, but convenience is important too. So what are the simplest steps you can take to so you can age in place comfortably and avoid common hazards? Well, here are a few changes you can start with.
Reduce Fall Risks in Your Bathrooms
Did you know many of the falls that occur at home happen right in the bathroom? This makes sense with slippery surfaces, so try to begin any aging-in-place upgrades by increasing safety in bathrooms. The easiest change you can make is to add some grab bars around the toilet and shower, but added precautions include adding a bench in your shower or even converting it to a walk-in model. Walk-in showers can be especially helpful for seniors who use a walker or wheelchair and can be easily installed.
Consider Using Ramps in Place of Stairs
For seniors with mobility issues, as well as seniors looking to age in place, stairs can also be a big fall hazard. A fall that happens on just a few steps leading up to your home can result in life-changing injuries. To reduce that risk and make your home safer to enter, think about having a wheelchair ramp installed. If you or someone in your family uses a wheelchair, you will want to be sure the ramp is wide enough to ensure safety. Want a simpler entryway solution? You can install handrails for added support.
Create Your Own Small Home Gym
Ramps and grab bars can support you in the event of a fall, but these safety measures can’t completely prevent them. Your next best bet is to boost your strength and balance. Studies have shown that a combination of balance and strength exercises can reduce the risk of suffering a serious fall. To make it easier to incorporate those workouts, think about carving out space in your home for some basic fitness equipment. Light dumbbells and resistance bands are a great start. Stability ball workouts can also be good for fall prevention, since they help improve balance and core strength.
Install Brighter, Smarter Lighting Options
Exercise is crucial for protecting your body against falls and injuries, but in some cases, age-related vision issues may be more to blame for those serious falls. Cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration can all result in a decreased ability to see clearly as you get older, increasing the risk of falls. Better home lighting can reduce that risk. Bright, even light is best, and automated controls can make life easier, so think about adding lamps with smart light bulbs or have some additional fixtures installed.
Keep Your Home Tidy and Clutter-Free
Most aging-in-place modifications require adding a few things in your home. However, one of the simplest steps you can take to make your home safer is to take more things out. Decluttering your home can help get those random items off of your floors that could lead to a serious fall. By better organizing your home you will also be able to find the things you need with less effort, which means less risk of a fall too. With the help of a friend or loved one, try to get rid of all that you can by donating or selling, then put anything you don’t currently need or can’t part with in storage.
Aging in place safely, without the risk of falls or injury, takes some planning. The changes you make to your home don’t have to be major to have an impact though. With simple safety measures like improving your lighting and providing extra support, you can make your dreams of aging in place at home a reality.
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