Do you have an elderly relative coming for a visit? Or perhaps you are trying to help someone transition back to their home after a hospital stay? The most important modifications to consider are those that will prevent falls or other accidents, and those that will keep seniors safe in the event of fire. George Christiansen of Pequot Remodeling offers some simple, affordable options to consider to make your home or their home more safe.
1. For the bathroom, invest in a portable raised toilet seat with arms.
2. Install a hand held shower nozzle over the tub faucet, or replace the existing shower head with a hand held variety to blend with your bath’s decor.
3. Install grab bars. Grab bars usually come to mind for bathrooms and can be hung vertically or horizontally. They don’t have to be institutional in style. See the great looking one from Great Grabz below. There also is hardware available to install bars when there are no wall studs present. Consider grab bars near a senior’s bed or favorite chair as well. Grab bars come in all variety of finishes and materials, even teak or glow-in-the-dark acrylic.
4. Place a telephone and flashlight by the bed.
5. Remove unnecessary throw rugs and ensure any area rugs lay flat.
6. Ensure railings and steps are in good repair to prevent trips and falls.
7. Use color to help seniors see edges and transitions. Put contrasting colored tape on the edge of stair steps and/or counters to make edges easier to see.
8. Eliminate stairs altogether by installing stairway ramps. Consider renting or purchasing a temporary ramp, or have something more permanent built that will blend with a home’s decor.
9. Change single-light fixtures to multiple-light fixtures. This way, if one light bulb goes out, there is still light to see.
10. Install motion sensor and/or timed lighting near exterior entries.
11. If hearing is an issue, install smoke/carbon monoxide detectors with strobe lights such as offered by Spectronics.
Obviously modifications can be as temporary or permanent as necessary for your situation. I always reassure my clients that we can make seniors safe on a very limited budget if necessary, but it’s worth considering investing in options that will be stylish and functional too.