How to Reorganize Your Home for Safer Aging in Place
According to studies, aging in place is preferred by most seniors (87%) in the United States. But with this option comes the need to make some modifications to your home, ensuring that it’s safe for you or your aging parents. This is simply because most homes aren't designed to accommodate the changing needs of seniors.
The first thing people think of is that this will tamper with the décor or layout of their home. However, making your house safer and still maintaining that aesthetic design and style you love is possible.
A well-organized home makes life more comfortable and relaxing for senior parents who want to independently and safely age in place. Consider the following house modifications to achieve such a household.
Easily Accessible Shelves and Cabinets
If you require a chair or stepladder to reach something, then you're exposing yourself to unnecessary risk. A simple fall can have unprecedented consequences. Lower your cabinets in the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, or anywhere else to your reach. You may also need to purchase some organizational products to store things that previously lived high up on the shelves.
Reorganize Furniture in the Rooms
Clearing paths in your rooms will reduce the risk of you or your senior parents running into or tripping over things. Move the fixtures and fittings toward the walls to have enough space for your pathways.
Asking a loved one to come over and help rearrange your furniture is a good idea — you don’t have to pull off everything on your own. You'll also appreciate the benefits of getting rid of items that no longer serve a purpose or don't fit seamlessly the way you want them to.
Take Care of Cords
You have many appliances (e.g., Christmas trees, radios, television, heaters) you need to plug in especially during winter. That means additional extension cords and tripping perils.
To ensure you keep your home safe in such a season or place, remember to use non-weathered and standard electric cords. Also, make sure that they aren't cluttered to avoid being tripped on, and never plug too many of them into the same outlet to avoid socket overloading. Keeping these tips in mind will help you safely age in place no matter the time of year.
Add More Lighting
Seeing what is around you clearly is vital in averting injuries. At home, the most dangerous places include steps, stairways, and under the kitchen cabinets.
Add more lights to these places and avoid those that require cords. Additionally, you wouldn't want to risk walking in the dark to get the light switch. Install a clapper or get smart lights that can be turned on/off using phone or voice commands.
Stairs and Steps
Most falls tend to happen when walking up or down the steps and stairs in homes. This makes them require special attention to thwart such occurrences. If your home previously had no handrails along the stairs, it's time to install them on both sides in addition to adequate lighting.
We cannot talk about safe aging-in-place without highlighting bathrooms. Slippery bathroom floors and bathtubs are common sources of safety concerns in senior parents' homes. Because their bodies may be weaker, a slip in the bathroom may cause an injury that may take them a long time to recover from.
Install safety grabs in bathrooms and even other rooms as needed. Use secure, non-slip mats in the bathtubs or shower. Finally, use a caddy in the shower and make sure toilet paper holders are within reach.
Other Rearranging Tips for Safer Aging in Place
Consider removing scatter mats.
Make sure that spills are wiped up immediately to avert the dangers of a slippery floor.
If you have wrinkled or loose carpets, damaged or uneven floors, or broken steps, have them repaired as soon as possible.
Consider devices such as raised toilet seats or bed rails for extra safety.
Though rugs offer excellent aesthetics, their edges can be tripping hazards. Consider getting rid of them instead of risking a severe fall.
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