How to Remodel Your Home for Elderly Parents
Many elderly individuals require round-the-clock care. A nursing home may not feel like a comfortable option for them and may be difficult to afford. Having your elderly parents live with you is another choice — one that allows you to take care of them and enjoy quality time together! However, you’ll want to make sure your house is ready for them to move into.
Here are some tips to help you remodel your home.
1. Add a Walk-in Shower
To allow your parents easy access to the shower, remove any steps. This way, they don’t have to overextend their legs and risk a fall. Falls are the leading cause of injury-related visits to the emergency room for people over 65.
Also, consider adding handrails near the shower to help them get in and out safely. You may even want to add a seat or nonslip rubber mats.
Along with these safety features, consider installing a handheld showerhead. This limits the amount of moving they have to do to reach certain areas of their body. Less movement also reduces their risk of falling.
2. Raise Your Toilet Seat
If your toilet seat is lower to the ground, your parents will have to bend down further. This can cause more strain on their bodies. As you age, you lose some of your flexibility, making it harder to quickly move up and down. To help your parents out, consider installing a toilet seat riser.
3. Light up Your Space
Your parents are likely to need to use the bathroom during the night. Make sure it’s well let to maintain safety. Also, add lights along the hallway that brighten up gradually to illuminate their path.
Here are some of the best types of night lighting to use in your home:
- Touch lights
- Models with timers
Along with adding light, also remove any throw rugs from the hallway. The loose ends or slippery material can be a tripping hazard.
4. Make Kitchen Cabinets More Accessible
Certain drawers can be more challenging for your parents to open. People with decreased mobility in their fingers may not be able to grasp some items. Consider installing D-shaped pulls instead of knobs.
Along with the handles, also make sure cabinets are the appropriate height. You don’t want your parents overextending to reach certain items, so consider adding pull-down shelving.
Also, examine your lower cabinets. If your parents need to bend to reach these, move essential things to the counter.
5. Add a Home Elevator
Elderly individuals can find it challenging to climb stairs, so multi-story homes will create challenges if you are attempting to keep parents in place throughout their old age.
To help them easily move around the house, consider installing a residential elevator for increased accessibility. It also will make them feel more independent since they don’t have to rely on you for extra help or forgo chores that require going up and down stairs — like laundry.
6. Examine Your Kitchen Appliances
The first thing to consider is the type of stove you have. If you have a gas stove, take safety precautions to ensure your parents are aware of the open flame. Another thing to keep in mind is the placement of the controls. Make sure they are at the front and easy to read.
Also, keep in mind your parents may be accustomed to having older-style appliances. Consider using a simple stove instead of a higher-tech one. This also goes for other devices in your kitchen, such as your refrigerator. Look for a fridge with long handles that are easy to grab.
7. Widen Your Doors
Another essential feature of your home is your doors. These should be wide enough to allow your parents to pass through easily. If they have a wheelchair, your entries need to be at least 36 inches wide. When they walk, they may have trouble staying balanced. A wider door frame can ensure they aren’t bumping into anything as they pass through.
Also, be sure to examine your front-door threshold, which should be relatively low. Consider installing a ramp to reduce the risk of falls.
You should also examine the type of knobs you use. Round ones can be harder for your parents to grab onto, so try using levers instead. You may want to place a bench next to the entryway in case your parents need to sit while looking for their keys.
How to Make Your Home Safe for Your Elderly Parents
Taking care of your aging parents can be a rewarding experience, but you want to make sure your house is safe for them to live in. Consider these remodeling tips to make your space comfortable and welcoming.
About The Author: Evelyn Long is the editor-in-chief of Renovated, a magazine for home improvement and décor advice. More of her work can be found on Twitter.
Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels
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