At one point, it was common for people to move into a retirement community or nursing home when they got older or began to have mobility issues. Now, more and more people are choosing to “age in place” and remain in their homes for as long as possible. But many homes aren’t designed to meet the needs of limited-mobility seniors.
Fortunately, a few updates can make most houses more senior-friendly. Even better, you don’t have to sacrifice style for accessibility.
Rethink The Flooring
Some flooring types are better in homes for seniors with limited mobility than others. Although throw rugs and carpets can warm up cold tile floors or add a bit of texture to hardwood or laminate floors, if you have someone using a walker or cane, those rugs are a tripping hazard.
It’s much safer to get rid of any throw rugs or carpets and stick with a bare floor. When choosing the material for the floor, pick non-slip one. Tile and smooth vinyl might look great, but they tend to be slippery. Hardwood is a better option.
Although throw rugs aren’t ideal, wall-to-wall carpet isn’t necessarily off-limits. It tends to be grippy and can create a bit of softness to protect a loved one if he or she does fall. If a senior uses a wheelchair or walker around the house, low pile carpet is a good pick. It’s easier to roll a wheelchair or push a walker over a low-pile carpet than it is over shag or high-pile carpeting. Plus, shag carpeting went out of style with the ’70s and hadn’t come back.
Let There Be Light
The darker a home is, the more difficult it is to navigate and the higher the risk for falls. Good lighting doesn’t only help protect seniors from harm; it also helps make a home look more inviting.
There are two areas where good lighting is essential: near the stairs and near the entryway. An overhead lamp that shines down on the stairs will help a person see where he or she is going. Lighting by the doorway will help someone get in and out of the home without bumping into doorways or tripping over the threshold. Rocker light switches don’t only look more modern than toggle switches; they are also much more comfortable for people with arthritis or other mobility problems to use.
Update Bath Fixtures
The bathroom often presents a challenge for adults with mobility issues. It’s challenging to get into and out of a tub with a high side, for example. To make bathing more comfortable, and more stylish, consider trading a traditional bathtub for a walk-in shower. Shower stalls aren’t just more accessible to get into than tubs. They are also on-trend.
Ageing in place helps people become old in comfort. With a few modern, accessible updates, you can improve your loved one age in style, too.