Growing old can be a truly blissful experience — seeing your grandchildren grow, retiring after years of hard work, and getting to spend your savings on the things you have always wanted is a blessing.
However, old age does not come without its set of downsides. Your bodily functions begin to decline, which can manifest in the form of falls and difficulty performing everyday tasks.
Therefore, it is practical and wise to prepare for these things as you get old. Making changes in the environment can prevent accidents while also helping with daily activities for the elderly.
And in this article, we will share five ideas on how to change your living environment as you get older. You’ll often find these things at aged care facilities like Banfields aged care, and it’s a good idea to apply them to your house too.
As we grow old, we lose our strength and are more likely to experience falls. An effective way to prepare for and prevent possible falls is to install handrails.
Handrails should be installed along walls in all rooms where possible. This is especially true for the walls leading to bathrooms and rooms that you visit frequently.
Get better lighting
Better lighting is an unspoken necessity when it comes to making the environment safe for the elderly. Lighting is important to illuminate potential hazards in the house, such as slippery surfaces and objects that could make someone trip.
Elderly seniors need relatively more lighting because of poor eyesight and possible eye diseases like cataracts and glaucoma. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when considering lighting for the elderly.
- Accessibility: Make sure light sockets are easily accessible, within reach, and close to entrances — you do not want to enter a dark room and fumble for the switch.
- Colour: Seniors find it difficult to distinguish colours towards the blue end of the spectrum because of the yellowing of their lenses. Therefore, installing cooler lighting in the form of halogen or fluorescent light bulbs can help them see better.
If you are interested in reading more about lighting for the elderly, you should check out this blog post.
If you have an handicapped or wheelchair-bound senior in your house, ramps are an automatic necessity when it comes to easing mobility.
For elderly who do not need a wheelchair, ramps can still help them walk when compared to stairs because they require less muscle power to climb.
Make your stairs safe
Stairs can be a nightmare for the elderly. Accidental slips or lost footing can cause significant injuries, so make sure you make your stairs safe.
The most important thing you should do in this regard is to use anti-slip products on your stairs. These include stair treads and non-skid floor paint.
Fortunately, using anti-slip products does not require any physical modifications to your stairs. These products are also not very expensive and are very simple to install. Stair treads come in the form of carpets or rubber. If you are looking to buy stair treads and cannot decide which material to choose, check this out.
It is also important to install handrails on your stairs because not all staircases have them! Handrails should be installed on both sides and should extend beyond the last step.
In addition, make sure all the steps of your stairs are well-illuminated and visible.
Lastly, accessories for stairs may seem unnecessary, but they can be one of the most effective methods of keeping the elderly safe. So make sure you consider stair lifts, stair blocks, and half steps when making stairs safe.
Senior-proof your bathroom
Bathrooms are the biggest culprits behind falls and injuries. Wet surfaces, smooth tiles, and moisture all pose a threat to the elderly.
To make your bathrooms safe for the elderly, you should begin by installing slip-prevention accessories. These include bath mats and non-slip strips. It is important to consider buying water-resistant mats and non-slip strips that adhere strongly to the floor — via adhesive tapes or by using rubber weighted mats.
Another cheap but effective method is to use an epoxy coating for your bathroom floor. However, this coating is not always appealing to the eyes.
Finally, we have already stressed upon the importance of handrails and lighting. But it is necessary to bring them up again. You should consider installing handrails or grab-bars inside bathrooms, especially inside showers and around toilets.
Also, make sure that your bathrooms are well-lit so that puddles of water and other wet surfaces are clearly visible.
5 Tips For Changing Your Living Environment As You Get Older is a feature post