Home Modifications for Seniors You Can Implement Simply and Affordably
by Paul Lorrah
Why Home Modification is a Top Factor when Aging at Home
More than 1 out of 4 older people fall each year. Over 800,000 of them are hospitalized as a result of the fall, with at least 300,000 resulting hip fractures. And, falls are the most common cause of Traumatic Brain Injury. 55% of falls occur inside the home. An additional 23% of older adults get injured in falls near the home, such as in the yard or on curbs and sidewalks.
What are some home modification tips?
1. Clear pathways for daily activities.
When you do a home assessment, analyze the senior’s routine and look how the physical space is arranged. The first thing to look at is whether they can walk where they need to without obstacles. Throw rugs, cords, piles of papers, small tables or ottomans make for an easy stumble. Rearrange the environment to be better suited to your daily use patterns. Avoid dangers by eliminating the need to reach, use stepstools or move about without proper lighting
2. Make the bathroom safer.
ERs treat nearly 200,000 seniors each year for injuries from falls in the bathroom. It is where approximately 80% of seniors fall in the home. Most falls occur while:
- Getting in and out of the tub or shower.
- Sitting down and getting up from the toilet.
- Walking and attempting to use towel bars, sink tops or other objects for support and balance.
- Insufficiently secured towel racks that could fall when gripped for support
- Shower curtains or sliding shower doors, which may fall or move, being used to steady one’s self
- Slippery bathtub and shower floor surfaces
- Bathtubs that are difficult to step into and out of
- Slippery floor tiles and surfaces that tend to get wet
- Low toilet seats that make it difficult to get up and down
3. Look outside too.
Make sure sidewalks are cleared and in good repair. Clearing overgrown plants and trees can minimize fall risks but also lessen dangers of robbery or attack. Similarly, install good lighting outside the home with motion sensors..
4. Consider where to get help.
Not everything can be solved with a physical home modification. However, you can find plenty of resources to help you stay at home.
Sometimes an assessment uncovers chores around the home that could be getting particularly dangerous. It may be time to stop cleaning your gutters or repairing your roof yourself. Outside maintenance such as pool cleaning, grass cutting and bush trimming could easily be “outsourced” so you can continue enjoying life at home safely.
Interior chores like ironing, laundry or changing high up light bulbs might become difficult. Someone with a back or shoulder injury risks further problems with what were once simple tasks.
Taking a look at what’s realistic can mean getting help in areas that could prevent future problems.
Home Modifications for Seniors Can be an Easy Adjustment for Aging in Place