More and more seniors are choosing to remain at home for their sunset years. The standard expectation is for seniors to transition to long-term care as they get older. However, rising healthcare costs, coupled with advancements in assistive technology and improved access to services such as nursing and meal delivery, have made independent living a more attractive proposition.
The reasons aren’t all practical, either. Many people prefer to age in their own homes for sentimental reasons. After all, it can be challenging to let go of a place that you’ve lived in for decades. Some seniors also want to stay close to their children and grandchildren. One popular method among adult children is to askgranny flat builders to construct a home for their parents.
Whether you’re retrofitting for yourself or a loved one, elder-proofing a home can be one of the smartest decisions you’ll ever make. Here are a few tips to get you started.
1. Relocating key rooms
If you live in a two-level structure, you might want to consider relocating private spaces such as your bedroom to the ground floor. For instance, you could turn an unused office or guest room into your bedroom. Just make sure your new bedroom is close to a retrofitted bathroom.
Keeping everything in one level can make your life easier, especially if you have mobility issues. If a room conversion isn’t an option, you could install a stairlift so that you can move up and down with little difficulty.
2. Clear the hallways
You might need to remove furniture from hallways and around doorways to ensure free and unrestricted movement for mobility devices such as wheelchairs. If your home’s doorways are too narrow for wheelchairs, you should also consider expanding them.
You will need to hire a contractor for this project. A small project like this entails removing the old frame, adding in a new one, and redoing the drywall, insulation, paint, and wiring. Mind the placement of light switches and outlets to minimize costs.
3. Replace doorknobs
Some seniors find it challenging to use round doorknobs due to the twisting motion required to unlock the bolt and latch. To ensure easier access around the home, replace all round doorknobs with lever-style ones. Lever-style doorknobs are easier to use, especially for those with mobility limitations.
4. Retrofit bathrooms
The bathroom will need a lot of updates to make it elder-proof. For starters, you will have to install grab bars around bathtubs and shower stalls. Bathroom floors are quite slippery, and one wrong move could lead to a dangerous fall.
If there’s room in the budget, you might want to replace ceramic tiles with slip-resistant flooring. The goal is to prevent slips and falls, and a floor replacement can help prevent that. Grab bars and non-slip flooring are available at most home improvement stores, although you will need professional contractors to do the job correctly.
Small renovations can significantly improve the safety and quality of life for seniors who opt to age in place. Most of these renovation ideas can be done on a budget and will pay for themselves many times over down the line.