Moving an aging loved one into your home is stressful for you both, and the last thing you want is for your property to be ill-prepared. There are several things you can do to ensure you have a soft landing for your senior. Read on for advice on how to ensure things go smooth as silk.
Start with Appropriate Space
Growing older typically means reduced strength, balance, and mobility, so you want an environment that allows your loved one to move about independently. For instance, as Seniors Matter explains, stairs can be particularly challenging for older adults to navigate. Ideally, you should set up a living space on the ground floor for your loved one, including access to the kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom. If your loved one must climb stairs, ensure there are supportive handrails on both sides, and bright, even lighting so she can see well.
Steer Clear of Clutter
In addition to a single-level living arrangement, you don’t want your loved one’s space to be cluttered. Clutter can come in many forms, and for those with aging eyes and waning strength and balance, it equates to slipping and tripping hazards. Things such as extension cords, ottomans, magazine racks, and area rugs can cause seniors to fall and get hurt, so clear walkways throughout the living area for your loved one.
Along those same lines, seniors often have many belongings of their own they intend to bring with them. To help avoid both clutter and heartache, sometimes some extra storage is the perfect solution. In fact, many homeowners add a storage shed, such as a steel outbuilding, to help house those belongings. Steel buildings are handsome, inexpensive, durable options, and keeps those belongings close by in case they’re needed.
Depending on your situation, the one room of your house that probably needs substantial adjustment is the bathroom. A faucet with lever handles is recommended for aging hands, and grab bars assist with transitioning and balance issues. Taller toilets are ideal, as well as a curbless shower design. Because of the slippery surfaces, consider adding a shower bench and handheld showerhead so your loved one can wash in a seated position.
Doorways and Hallways
The more open spaces are your loved one has, the easier navigation will be, particularly if she should need a cane, walker, or wheelchair at any time. While removing load-bearing walls without professional assistance is ill-advised, you can remove non-load-bearing walls yourself, and it’s often possible to widen doorways relatively easily.
Improving lighting is also a potential boon, especially in areas where your loved one might leave a bright space to enter a darker one. Oftentimes, this would be hallways and stair landings. Aging eyes don’t adjust to changes in brightness as quickly as younger ones, so brightening the dim areas can help avoid disorientation. 1000Bulbs.com explains that older eyes are also more sensitive to glare, which can make floaters more noticeable.
Thankfully, there are some simple fixes to help aging adults see better. Adding more fixtures is a great first step, as well as installing nightlights and under cabinet lighting. Use uniform, ambient lighting throughout the environment, with shades on bulbs to avoid glare. Also, allow in as much natural light as possible, and install sheer curtains on windows which are overly bright.
Much of the time, the rooms your loved one will be using can be easily tweaked to offer appropriate support and independence. Examine your home environment and make adjustments so your loved one can enjoy independence and comfort. Circumstances can vary greatly, but some common home solutions for helping aging adults are simple and effective.
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