Senior home improvement is very important in our aging society. Making a few improvements and modifications to a senior’s home can increase their comfort and allow them to be more independent for a longer period of time. Independence is vitally important to us all, but especially so for our senior citizens.
Related: See Why Manufactured Homes are a Smart Retirement Option.
Approximately one-third of the senior population lives alone at home, and one in three of that group will have a nasty fall each year. With small senior home improvement changes, the home can become safer and allow the senior to thrive. These changes help prevent falls and help keep them in their homes longer. No one wants to leave their home if they don’t have to and especially if a few improvements can help.
There’s no secret that our society is aging. The baby boomer generation is retiring and we are living longer lifespans so we need to be as independent for as long as possible.
A Texas A&M study states “The traditional home is designed for an able-bodied, non-elderly adult. Since that description fits less than 15 percent of our population, many people are living in environments that are awkward, difficult to manage, or even unsafe.”
Even the fittest seniors will find some activities that become burdensome or have certain movements that cause discomfort. Fortunately, there are several senior home improvement tips to make the homes function more efficiently and safely. A little pre-planning can save a lot of time and hassle. If your health is deteriorating, you may find it beneficial to make changes for possible future needs. Here are a few ideas:
- Falls usually happen while getting in or out of the bathtub. Installing handles and a non-skid latex mat inside and outside will reduce the chances.
- Elevated toilets help people that find it hard to squat, bend, sit or stand. It’s a good idea to have grab bars anchored to the wall and floor beside the toilet, too.
- Set the thermostat on the water heater to a maximum of 120 degrees to prevent burns.
- Store toiletries, first aid supplies, and other bathroom necessities at waist level where they limit bending, stooping or stretching. (This is true for all rooms.)
- Consider a tub seat or walk-in shower unit.
- Raise the dishwasher so bending is not needed for loading and unloading.
- Use multi-level counter heights with open space beneath to allow for sitting.
- Replace higher cabinets with lower shelving or drawers. Often used items should be handy.
- Install a wall oven, lowered for comfortable use. Use a countertop range, lower the height for ease of use.
- Flat surfaces around the stove are easier to clean and allows sliding of heavy pots instead of lifting.
- Replace doorknobs and faucets with lever handles.
- No step threshold can decrease falls.
- Building walk-in closets with multiple heights allow easy reaching.
- Install rocker light switches that are easier to turn on and off compared to the old-fashioned flip switch.
- Make sure there is ample room to maneuver easily between furniture and walls.
An AARP finding showed that 70% of seniors have made at least one modification to their homes and half believe that the simple senior home improvements will allow them to stay in their homes for about 10 more years.
These senior home improvement tips will easily make a home work more efficiently. By modifying a home just a bit, we can help our nations seniors and aging continue to be as independent as possible for as long as possible, and that will make our entire society stronger!
There are some HUD loans as well as state and local organizations that can help seniors improve their homes for safety and comfort. Be sure to research your area. Low-interest loans and even free services could allow your loved ones to live in their beloved homes a few more years and reduce the chances of falls and accidents.
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