These seniors are choosing to remain living independently in their own homes- “aging in place” as it is termed by seniors’ advocates – for as long as possible so remodeling their current residence to suit their changing needs is increasing in popularity.
If you do choose to remodel your home for safety and accessibility what work should you be commissioning? Here are some of the essential elements of a senior friendly home.
Overall Floor Plan – A single story home is, of course, the ideal option but if you own a two story home consider having a downstairs room (an underused dining room perhaps) converted into a comfortable master bedroom. A master bedroom suite would be preferable as having a bathroom downstairs is almost an essential for less mobile members of the household.
Bathroom – Whether upstairs or down, there are a number of adjustments that can be made to ensure that bathing is a safer experience for seniors. Grab bars around the bathing and toilet areas are a must and replacing a traditional bath tub with a step in model minimizes the risk of bath time slips and falls.
Kitchen – Upper wall cabinetry should be at least 3 inches lower than is considered “usual” so that no one has to strain to reach them or use an unsteady step stool. The path through the kitchen should be open and unobstructed.
Flooring – Slippery tiled or high sheen surfaces are a no-no but while carpeting may seem like the obvious solution installing one with a pile deeper than ½ inch or without proper under padding can be just as hazardous. For safetys sake always have any new flooring professionally installed to ensure that it is properly secured in place.
Home Exteriors – The exterior of the home should be well lit for security purposes and some seniors choose to have a flashing emergency light installed so that the home is easily located by emergency services should it be necessary. Pathways should be well lit and any steps should have sturdy hand rails.