Remember the house that you grew up in or the relative’s house where you spent long summers? Over the years, it has undoubtedly preserved some of your favorite memories, but the home itself might not have been as well-preserved. If you have elderly relatives living in an older home, now is a good time to start thinking about remodeling for their greater comfort and accessibility.
Reaching, bending, lifting and other regular movements may not seem like activities to worry about, but over time, it can task an elderly person’s strength to accomplish daily tasks. The goal of remodeling homes for the elderly is to decrease stress on the body. We’ve highlighted four main areas that you should pay attention to when remodeling for an older individual.
From morning to night, a great deal of your daily routine is spent in the bathroom. It’s not something you think about, but as one of the most-used rooms in your home, it can also be the most dangerous. There are several ways for you to secure this area. Bathroom rugs that are water absorbent can easily help you avoid serious injuries from slips and falls. Common fixtures like handle bars and adjustable shower heads are quick additions to any bathrooms, as well. For long term solutions, however, you might want to consider a walk-in bathtub. These are ideal for people with mobility issues and provide more security than a simple shower seat. Upgrades include:
- Jet and whirlpool settings
- Temperature maintenance system
- Anti-slip tub floor
- Mold resistant acrylic and more.
New storage areas at lower access points are also beneficial additions.
Just like in the bathroom, mats are a simple solution on slippery or potentially wet surfaces. You might have to do some reorganizing of your kitchen cabinets as well. Most used items should be placed on lower shelves or even on counter tops. For items that need to stay on higher shelves, keep a durable step stool on hand. Examine the cabinets and determine if they need to be updated with pullout shelves or storage walls. If they are in good condition, consider changing the knobs to handles to make them easier to open and close.
Making changes to the bedroom is a bit tricky. You don’t want to disturb the personal nature of the space. Because visibility can be an issue, add new lighting elements like nightlights or push lights as guides at night. You may also need to raise the bed to make it easier for the relative to get in and out. Many seniors use space heaters or heating pads at night – this may be a sign of insulation inefficiencies. Ask a contractor to inspect the home for poorly insulated areas that could be causing heat loss.
As a good rule of thumb, keeping the areas mentioned above clutter free needs to be a priority. Too many knick-knacks can be dangerous near walking paths or open flames in the kitchen. Old windows can be replaced with energy efficient windows and customized to fit the home’s original structure. External doors can also be refitted with fiberglass and weatherproof sealing without sacrificing style. Saving money over the long haul will help retirees on a fixed budget.
If your relative is moving into your house, you can apply these suggestions in the same way. For more questions on your remodeling needs, contact our specialists at 800-731-0197. We would love to customize a plan for you and give you a tour of our newest showroom!