21 Steps for Age-Proofing Your Home

If you read last month’s blog (and I know you did), you learned my motivation for becoming a handyman. As a caregiver to a disabled adult and aging parents, my desire is to help people live safely and independently in their homes.

According to the AARP, 90 percent of seniors want to stay in their homes as they grow older. My mother-in-law was one of these seniors; however, she found as she aged that her home in Madison, built in 1934, was not really designed for her declining mobility issues.  Tight corners, uneven thresholds, steep stairs and a narrow bathroom made keeping her safe in her home more difficult with each passing year. When she underwent emergency gall bladder surgery, a team of occupational therapists came into the home and made a list of modification suggestions for her release.

But no one was available to help make these modifications quickly. So, after hopping on a flight from Denver, and rallying the support of my in-laws, adjustments were made to mom’s home so that she could recover in the place she was comfortable.

So, this month’s blog is about age-proofing your home. Reduced eyesight, reduced flexibility, and balance issues hit us all around the age of 45 to 50, right? Well, age-proofing your home can and should start around this time. Don’t wait until a fall happens to make modifications, instead, do these changes now. And remember, age-proofing is not about an expensive remodel to your house. It’s about simple changes we all can make. Some of these may require a small investment of money, but it’s worth it for your safety.

Below are 21 suggestions for age proofing your home, which will help reduce the risks of injuries, improve your quality of life and give you many more years in your home.


Installing Carpet over hardwood floors Living Room:

1. Replace bulbs with brighter, longer lasting LED’s to illuminate stairs and bathrooms

2. Raise electrical outlets further from the ground and lower switches

3. Install low-pile commercial carpet instead of tile or concrete floors


Kitchen:

4. Reduce the risk of fires by installing smart devices/motion detectors to turn off appliances

5. Have your smoke detectors checked once per year and change batteries

6. Install an induction cooktop, which stays cooler than traditional heating elements

7. Install bottom kitchen shelves that slide out


Stairs and Halls:

8Carpeting on Stairs. For steps without carpeting, add non-skid adhesive or grippers to reduce risk of slipping

9. If stairs are carpeted, make sure carpeting is secure

10. Mount handrails on both sides of stairs and hallway

11. Install a motorized stair lift


Bedroom:

12. If your bed is too high, remove the bedframe or install lower profile mattress/box spring

13. If your bed is too low, insert bed risers

14. Place lamps within easy reach of bed

15. Consider purchasing an adjustable bed

 

Bathroom:

16. Grab bar in a showerInstall grab bars in your tub and shower

17. Use bathmats and rugs with non-slip backing

18. Purchase a walk in tub or shower to reduce the risk of slips and falls

 


Garage and Basement
:

19.Paint the bottom step to the basement or garage a different color to distinguish it from the floor

20. Install bright lighting everywhere, especially walkways and staircases

21. Install sturdy railings (ideally two) for the steps

 

 


I hope you found these tips helpful, and as always, if you need help with any making any of these modifications, give us a call!