Aging in Place: How to Remodel a Home for Seniors and Caretakers
Having an aging parent in your home is both a blessing and a challenge. As a caretaker, you naturally want to take care of the person who devoted his or her life to caring for you. At the same time, aging parents have unique physical and mental challenges that a home may not be equipped to handle. At Parker Design | Build | Remodel, we can help make your home accessible for your loved ones. Consider the following ways we can make your home welcoming for any challenges you may face.
Consider Physical Accessibility
Many aging parents have trouble getting around; some use mobility aids like canes, walkers, and wheelchairs, while others are fairly immobile without assistance. The average house has many mobility obstacles you may not think about.
1. If your parent uses a wheelchair, you might think about adding a ramp to your front and back entrances,
2. Replace stairs with sloping carpet or indoor ramps.
3. Widening doors to at least 44″ so wheelchairs can easily fit through them.
Avoiding Trips & Falls
Another mobility issue lies in avoiding the most common cause of broken hips – flooring that causes trips and falls. Bathroom floors are particularly tricky because they can become slippery every time someone uses the shower or bath. Make sure your bathrooms are outfitted with no-slip rugs (invest in rugs and bath mats with secure grips on their undersides). Install handicap-accessible grab bars in the bathroom, particularly around the tub and toilet, or install a low shower or bath your parent can easily use.
Open Up Space
Most homeowners don’t recognize how little space or how much clutter they have until it becomes an issue for someone else. Aging parents may have trouble maneuvering in small or crowded rooms even if they are completely mobile. Be cognizant of this – donate, sell, or store as many unneeded items as possible. Do not use main rooms as storage spaces. Open up space where you can – if possible, rearrange furniture, or remove walls if your lifestyle and space allow it.
Check the Lighting
Your aging parent may have vision problems or may simply feel uncomfortable in dimly lit rooms. Keep bedrooms, bathrooms, and the kitchen equipped with high-watt bulbs at all times. Use large windows, skylights, or chandeliers to bring light to public spaces and make your aging parent feel welcome in them. Utilize home automation technology to electronically increase or decrease lighting every time someone enters a room. Better yet, with AI technology, you can just ask for help.
If you need help creating a space your parent can easily access, contact Parker Design | Build | Remodel for a consultation.