When it comes to designing and building a home, most elements are not ideal for seniors. As homeowners start to age, their home can become more difficult to navigate and safety risks can increase. To ensure that elderly members of a household stay safe and enjoy their home, there are many modifications and additions that should be implemented. At Alderidge Construction, we provide home renovation solutions that seek to maximize livability for all homeowners. That is why our team has compiled some information on how to make a home more liveable for elders.
Ways to Enhance Livability for Elderly Homeowners
If you have aging parents and want to ensure that their home continues to be livable and safe, consider the following modifications and renovations:
Install Ramps and Railings
Exterior stairs can be exceptionally difficult to navigate for seniors. Installing ramps is a great method of allowing the same level of access while minimizing the risk of slips, trips, and falls. Ramps are also ideal for wheelchair access and motorized scooters. For interior stairs, it is important to ensure that sturdy railings are installed on both sides. This allows for support and safety while traveling up or down the flight of stairs. For severely limited mobility, consider installing a chair lift or indoor ramps.
Safer Floors and Doorways
If a senior relies on mobility aids such as a walker or wheelchair to navigate through their home, floors and doorways can pose a major hazard. If their home currently has old, damaged carpet or uneven flooring, this should be replaced with new laminate, hardwood, or short carpet. These new types of flooring minimize the risk of slips and trips, especially when using a walker or wheelchair. If possible, consider expanding the size of doorways to allow for additional room when entering the home or moving to another space.
Appliances, countertops, and seating are all key areas to consider when attempting to enhance liveability for elderly homeowners. Ensure that all appliances are at an accessible height and install lower countertops if the current counters are too tall.
Bathtubs can pose a significant safety risk for seniors. That is why it can be worth installing a walk-in, barrierless shower or tub. These units ensure optimal accessibility and safety, even for individuals with limited mobility. Other modifications for the bathroom can include lower sinks, safety bars, and safety strips to minimize the risk of slipping on a wet floor.
Inadequate lighting can greatly increase safety risks for homeowners of any age. Stairwells, entryways, and hallways should all be thoroughly illuminated to ensure that any potential tripping hazards are visible. Every room should also be well-lit at any time of day, so installing lighting in effective locations is highly recommended.