Top Aging-in-Place Renovations To Make Your Home More Accessible
More and more seniors are opting to “age in place.” That is, they’ve decided to spend their golden years in the comfort of their own homes rather than choosing to move to retirement communities, assisted living facilities, or nursing homes.
If this is something you or a loved one are considering, we recommend altering certain aspects of your home that could be hazardous to an elderly individual. With these minor modifications, you’ll increase the overall safety, convenience, and ease that comes with aging in place.
Update Lighting Throughout Your Home
As we age, so does our eyesight — update task lighting in your kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, and garage with brighter lights. If you go with LED lighting, you have the added benefit of not needing to replace bulbs very often. You may want to swap out your traditional light switches for rocking switches that may be easier to use, and you can also add motion sensors in your bathrooms, closets, and in the toe spaces under cabinets. This helps automatically light paths when you need it most. You may also consider adding touch sensors to lamps, as turning small knobs can be complex as your hands age.
Update Your HVAC System if Necessary
Being appropriately cool or warm is necessary for you to be comfortable and safe if you own a home. If your HVAC system is aging, it’s a good idea to have the system evaluated by a professional and replaced if necessary.
Make Sure Your Thermostat Is Accessible
It’s important that your thermostat is easy to use, access, and adjust. It’s also a great idea to have a thermostat in or near the kitchen to be able to lower the home’s temperature when cooking. This can prevent getting too hot, feeling lightheaded, or fainting that can occur when someone is overheated.
Install a Shower Seat or a Walk-In Bathtub
As you age, a simple task like bathing can be challenging without a shower seat or a walk-in bathtub. With either of these adjustments, you can safely sit without having to navigate the challenging edge of a bathtub. You also eliminate a lot of the strain on your body that comes with standing or balancing for too long, as with a traditional shower. It’s also important that your shower have a low or zero threshold to prevent tripping.
Install an Adjustable Showerhead
An adjustable showerhead or a handheld showerhead can make bathing and cleaning your shower or tub easier. This provides flexibility whether you like to sit or stand in the shower, and these are very quick and easy to install.
Place Grab Bars Around the Bathroom
Adding sturdy grab bars around the shower, tub, and toilet can make those areas safer and more accessible for everyone. When appropriately installed and anchored by a professional, these can support between 250 to 300 pounds.
Replace Your Toilet or Toilet Seat
Using the toilet can be challenging for a person who is struggling to sit or stand on their own, especially if their toilet is too short. We recommend upgrading your standard 15-inch toilet to one that’s 17 to 19 inches high or installing a raised toilet seat if your budget doesn’t allow for a completely new toilet.
Rethink Your Sinks & Faucets
The height of your sink is an important consideration, as lower sinks will be more accessible for those in wheelchairs. A wall-mounted sink that leaves space for someone seated and a countertop with rounded edges are also senior-friendly choices. You want a shallow sink in the kitchen, so you don’t have to reach too far to pick up or wash dishes. It’s also a good idea to swap old faucets with knobs for ones with levers or touchless motion sensors.
Check the Temperature on Your Water Heater
This is an excellent time to check the temperature on your water heater to ensure it won’t reach scalding levels, especially for those who may not be able to reach or shut off the water immediately should it be too hot. An anti-scald device is an easy safety feature to install on your bathroom sink, shower, or tub.
By making these changes to your home, you can create a safe environment to age in place. The experts at David Gray are here to help with all your plumbing, heating and cooling, and electrical needs to make sure you age in place both safely and joyfully.
Contact us online or give us a call at (904) 724-7211 to schedule your consultation with the David Gray team today.