Many seniors remain completely independent well into old age. If you are able to walk confidently and don’t have any major health problems that require close supervision, you can live in the comfort of your old home into your 80’s and beyond. That said, it’s common sense to take necessary precautions to protect yourself from common dangers. Unfortunately, few seniors take the steps to modify their home.
In fact, 85% of seniors who live at home have done nothing to change their home and protect themselves from the realities of aging. Take some time and get your family involved to make your home safe and secure. These are the modifications you should prioritize.
- Replace traditional round doorknobs with lever-style doorknobs and handles shaped like a C. These are easier to grab a hold of, and less likely to cause problems.
- Inside and outside of your main entrances, place a sturdy chair or bench. These are useful to place packages and bags on while you get out your keys and open the door. Multitasking can lead to a strained back, or worse, a fall.
- Install grab bars in the bathroom so using the restroom doesn’t become burdensome over time. These can be disguised or utilized as towel racks to add a functional sense of style to the bathroom.
- Include a built-in seat in your shower. Standing in the shower presents many risks of slipping. If you love your daily shower, a seat can make it feel like a spa. Safe options for taking showers will lead to better hygiene.
- Installing a stair lift will become a top priority as you get older. If you live in a two-story apartment or house, ensure that you have a staircase wide enough and straight enough for a stair lift.
- Make your kitchen more versatile by including counters at multiple levels. Your back and legs may become sore while cooking, so the multi-leveled construction will allow you to sit or stand and continue cooking without a problem.
- Pick a side-by-side or drawer-style refrigerator. This storage system limits the amount of stretching and lifting you have to do in order to access food items throughout the day.
- Move any shelves that are too high up to a reasonable height. Eliminating storage above your reach will greatly reduce your risk of falling or dropping an object onto your head. The stretching to reach high shelves can also cause pain and discomfort.
- Choose a front-loading washer and dryer. For added support and comfort, install them at arm-level so you don’t need to constantly bend over or kneel on your knees in order to do laundry.
- Add bright lighting to your closets, pantries, and other dark spaces so you never have to strain your eyes. This also limits your likelihood of stumbling over objects due to poor lighting.
- Affix rolling casters to your dining chairs and any other heavy furniture objects that you regularly move. This will help you rearrange without the need to carry items that are too heavy to lift safely.
This list is a wonderful starting place to make your home safe to live in for decades. While these tips will boost your senior independence, this list is not comprehensive. For more senior health and safety tips, explore our blog.