As we grow older in life, we find that things we could once easily do or accomplish are not that easy anymore. Physical constraints tend to hold us back a little and we have many struggles to avoid simple and common obstacles. These could potentially lead to serious problems and even injuries that we cannot afford.
For most senior people, living well means living in comfort. Being able to do everything as naturally as possible and live out the rest of our senior days without too many hassles or curveballs that life tends to throw in our way. Fortunately, with a little bit of remodeling, this is all possible and every senior can live out the rest of their days in comfort.
In this article, we look at some of the many things that seniors can do to make their home a little more comfortable and improve the living space. These tips can all be done at once, but even if you are slowly aging, you can start implementing them to ensure you have the most comfortable experience in your home.
The Risk Factors
There are a couple of risk factors that could potentially hold you back as a senior and make life tougher. Once you understand some of these risk factors, it is easier to work around them and even improves your living situation to get rid of them. Here are a couple of crucial risk factors that every senior needs to keep in mind.
1. Medical Conditions
Whether it is falling or the inability to do something, it is best to talk to your doctor about your personal medical conditions. Cardiovascular conditions can cause individuals to trip up and fall, making it harder to avoid injuries, whereas arthritis is a condition that weakens the bone structure and your body might just give, forcing you to tumble.
Hearing and vision loss are also medical conditions that we commonly see with the elderly and as they age, it can be hard to see every detail or even hear faint noises. This can potentially lead to bumping into objects and tripping over small things that might have been left on the floor. Memory loss can lead to forgetting the layout of the house and this adds to the risk factors.
While many seniors might be a little frustrated and some also won’t accept the conditions, it is important to have a medical assessment. With medical advice, you can not only start with remodeling the home, but some new advancements in medication can also help to avoid any potential conditions from escalating too fast.
2. Home Design
Perhaps you have your dream house with all the fancy details and stairs that make it stand out from the average home. However, this could also pose a serious risk to seniors looking for comfort and an easy way to move around the house. Objects left in the middle of the road can be frustrating and are a massive reason for injuries.
Another factor that leads to injuries and is considered a risk to have in your home is stairs. We all know that having a massive house with multiple rooms on top is the American Dream, but for the senior in the family, it only means more obstacles to navigate. You could argue that the railing will support them, but unfortunately, not all seniors have a comfortable grip.
The kitchen may not only pose a serious risk to your senior companion, but also to the safety of the house. Most modern kitchens have gas stoves that are used for cooking. While this is a fast and efficient way to have your food ready, it can definitely be risky as well. The kitchen is one of the areas, you definitely want to remodel for more comfort and to avoid potential hazards.
Modifications That can Make Your Home to Prevent Falls and Injuries
Falling or tumbling down can be the worst thing to happen to a senior, especially when there is no one home to assist them or ensure they are safe and back on their feet. The best way to keep your elderly companion from falling is to take some preventative measures. Here are a few things that can help you to take these preventative measures.
Lighting is one of the main concerns that many people have in their homes and we see a modern trend of homes becoming darker and darker. While it might look stylish, it does not bode well for individuals with limited sight. Having a lift up home is much better for seniors and could help them see where they are going at all times of the day. Here are a few ideas:
- Night Lights: Modern night lights are designed to keep the electricity bill low, while still offering you the best possible light source to see. These lights can be changed from dim to bright and can help someone when they are navigating their way to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
- Light Timers: Since the old memory loss problem might come back to plague the elderly, having lights connected to a timer can always help the elderly. If they forget to turn the lights on or off, these timers will kick in and the lights will automatically turn on. Additionally, you might consider adding motion sensors that will turn the lights on once they sense motion.
- Remote Controls: With modern smart technology going into the future, it is no secret that we have access to remote controls for lighting in the modern era. To ensure your senior companion does not trip or fall when they have turned off the light, you can connect them to a remote control to make it easier.
- Smart Lighting: Nothing is more impressive than controlling your home from your mobile device and with smart devices, you can connect your lights to the device. This means you can control the color and brightness from your mobile device, regardless of where you are.
Another area of concern is the general living area and the floor can definitely cause a few issues to the aging seniors. However, there are a few things that you do to ensure the floor is comfortable for them and to avoid potential falls:
- Slip-Resistant Rugs: Rugs look great and they can occasionally help to give your feet traction on slippery tiles of wooden floors. However, common rugs might slip from underneath your feet and leave you with a few bruises. Having slip-resistant rugs will keep them secure on the floor and could help avoid any potential dangers.
- Keep Floors Clean: Nothing spells more danger than having a slippery substance on the floor. With children and accidents happening all the time, it is important to keep a close eye on the floor area. Should you notice any spills, you should clean them immediately, it should also keep your home looking clean.
- Bars On The Walls: This might not sound practical, but once you have a few of them installed, you will see that bars on the walls can be really great. This can be in the form of a table that has a stylish hand railing or even the stands for your ornaments can serve as a way for the elderly to grab something of they feel uncomfortable.
We all need to grab a bite from time to time and with food being one of the most important parts of daily survival; your kitchen is one of the areas that need to be looked after for your senior companions. Here are a few tips to help you with this:
- Rearrange: You might want to start off by rearranging your kitchen and placing all of the common things that the senior person might need in easy to reach areas. Instead of having them climb on a step stool have everything placed within their reach.
- Install Pullout Cabinets: It can be an expensive job to renovate your kitchen, but simply installing different cabinets can make it safer. Pullout cabinets are safer and they lock into place, avoiding any potential area that might cause someone to slip and fall.
- Reduce Glare On Floors: While polishing your floors can be really helpful when it comes to comfort, it can also cause some glare from the kitchen lighting. You should avoid polishing the floors or even replace the tiles with something that has a matte coating.
- Lower counters if possible: This might be a little more expensive, but if you do have the available funds, it is best to lower the counters and make them more accessible. This will reduce the concern for them stretching and potentially having muscle cramps.
The stairway is probably the most dangerous area for seniors in the home and if you could avoid it, we would definitely recommend that you do so. However, this is not always possible for many modern homes and here are a few tips that could make the stairs a little safer for the senior members of the family:
- Traction Pads: If you don’t like spending too much on remodeling, having traction pads added to the stairs should make a massive difference. You simply need to place on each of the stairs to ensure your feet has optimal grip.
- Improve Visibility: If you can t see the stairs, how should you try to avoid or navigate them. Adding small lights to the stairs will ensure that each one is visible and ensure that everyone can see them.
- Railings On Either Side: It can be easy to fall and tumble down the stairs, but adding railings will ensure that you don’t need to worry about falling down. Railings generally come with the stairs, but we recommend adding them on either side.
- Install A Lift: if you have the funds available to make massive changes, you should consider adding a lift or some sort of transport that will make it easier to get up and down. A lift will also be a good investment and raise the market value of the home.
One of the first things you should consider doing is improving the rooms of the elderly. If you can limit their movement through the rest of the home, you have already won and you only need to make minor additional changes:
- Widen Doorways: Having a wider doorway means there is less chance of them stumbling and falling into the doorway. This can also make it easier for senior with wheelchairs to actually move between rooms if needed.
- En-Suite Bathroom: The bathroom can be a dangerous place to go to, especially if it is down the hall. Having one added to the room will ensure that your senior companion does not constantly need to move around and risk injuries.
- Add A Walk-In Closet: Every person dreams of having a large walk-in closet, but for the elderly, it is imperative to ensure they have the most comfort. A walk-in closet can be expensive but will limit the need for constantly opening and closing closets.
As we grow older, we find ourselves spending more and more time in the bathroom and this is for good reason. However, the bathroom is also rated as one of the most dangerous areas of the home and you should try to make it safer. Here are a few ways you can use to make the bathroom a little safer:
- Non-Slip Pads: Whether you are taking a bath or using the shower, it can be dangerous and slippery. By adding your non-slip pads, you will be reducing the risk of falling and slipping in these areas.
- Install A Raised Toilet: Seniors definitely don’t like constantly bending over to use the toilet and with a raised toilet, this can be avoided.
- Grab Bars Should Be Installed: Wherever possible, try to install grab bars along the bathroom and give the senior of the family a spot they can use to hold onto when they are feeling a little uncomfortable.
7. Additional things to remember
Now with all the important things out of the way, you might not have anything left in your budget, but having a few more additional upgrades will certainly make your home even safer for the elderly. Here are a couple more things to keep in mind:
- Limit Attic And Basement Usage: When possible, you should limit the use of the attic and the basement for the seniors. If it is needed, you should have some supervision to ensure they are safe.
- Raised Garden Beds: Instead of having them bend over to tend the garden, the raised garden bed will offer more comfort and ensure that they are safer.
- Adequate Outdoor Shade: Seniors can spend the entire day indoors and we all need to get some fresh air. However, heatstroke can be a real possibility and to avoid this, you need to have adequate shade. Adding trees or even a roof on the patio can assist you.
Downsizing For Seniors
We all love living in those luxurious mansions and keeping everything we have ever owned until the day we die. However, this is not needed and downsizing is an important thing seniors need to consider as they grow older. Instead of constantly living in clutter and having to deal with large homes, here are a few tips to help seniors with downsizing:
1. Start By Going Through Your Belongings
In an average lifespan, chances are that you may have accumulated a lot of items and it is important to start small. By going through all of your personal belongings, you can relive memories and decide which of them you actually need. You might come across old memorabilia that has been stored away that you could use now.
2. Decide What You Need And What To Let Go Of
Letting go of the past is probably one of the hardest things that you can expect from an elderly person. However, it is needed to understand that times change and you won’t have any use for too many of the older things in your home. Take some time and decide if something is really of value to you that you need to keep it.
Decluttering your home of unneeded things can often times help you feel more free. We are trapped by memories of the past and many people believe that there is no escape. However, you should start small and discarding smaller items that you don’t have any need for. Once you are in the habit of ridding your home of these things, you can move on to sentimental objects.
Decluttering your home can be done with things like simple yard sales. The money from these sales can be used to improve your home and even make it more comfortable to live in. Once you start clearing out some of the older stuff, you will notice a lot of free space and you can actually put this to good use in your old age.
4. Consider Buying Smaller Home
Chances are that if you have lived a fulfilled life that your home might have already been paid for and you only need to carry the mortgage. In the modern age, this can actually be really expensive and hold you back from fulfilling some of your goals like traveling the world. Mortgages are much more expensive nowadays and they can drain your savings.
A smaller home can be more comfortable and you will utilize it much better as well. However, you might not like the idea of buying a new home and renting can actually also be a great option. The downside to renting is that you don’t have the freedom of making changes to the home as you please and you might need to do a lot of research to find the right home.
The final option that many seniors also do is moving in with friends and family. This can be a great way to downsize and constantly be with someone that will keep you company. If you have sold your house, the funds can be used to make any home more comfortable and we believe that your family will be thankful for the upgrades.
5. Letting Go Of The Past
The only way to be truly fulfilled is to forget about the past. Once you accept that you can do anything to change what has happened and accept that growing older is part of life, it is much easier to make the transition to something smaller. Spend some time away or even go on a holiday with someone special or your family to help forget about the past and cherish only the good times.
Doing this should take some time and with the help of someone close and caring, you will be able to move on to newer and better things. Being open to change and adapting with the times might not seem possible now, but with a little bit of effort, you can start brand new at any age with a smaller home and less clutter to deal with.
Living in comfort is not always possible and the modern era doesn’t make it any easier, but if you are in the position to do so, it is important to give it a go and to try living in the modern era. If you are a child reading this for your parents, there is no greater gift than giving your senior friends and family the gift of comfort at their age.
We hope that you have enjoyed this article and that you have found these tips helpful to make life a little better for the elderly or senior members. Let us know what you think and which additional methods can be used to bring comfort to the life of seniors.