If you plan on having an elderly parent live with you there are specific things that need to be taken care of to get your home ready for them. These include, safety, comfort, mobility, security and self-sufficiency/reliance.
You need to make the home as safe and easy to navigate as possible for the elderly while still enabling them to have their independence. However, your parents will need to realize things may be different from what they’re used to.
The home renovations required will more or less depend on the person’s state of health, level of mobility, daily living activities/habits and lifestyle. Depending on your home, sometimes these renovations may be minor, other times they may be larger such as adding another room to your home.
Questions you may need to ask are:
- Are they confined to a wheelchair or do they need the aid of a walker?
- Will I need to renovate or add a room for them?
- Are there stairs or other potential hazards that could make navigating the home harder for them
You should then go through the house to assess each room to see what needs to be done. You can also spend a day with your parents to see how they manage their daily routines.
The following are some common renovations that could be used to help for a smooth transition into a new home for the elderly.
If your parent needs a wheelchair or other type of mobility device you’ll likely need ramps and extra wide doorways wider than 32 inches to accommodate the device. You may also need to remove floor rugs if they hamper the movement of a wheelchair or walker.
2- Grab Bars
Grab bars to prevent falls should be installed in the home’s bathrooms either permanently or temporarily with strong, portable suction-cup grab bars. Specially-designed sit-down showers can be installed as well as bathtubs designed for the elderly. Also, elevated toilet seats with arms are available.
Making the home brighter is often a good way to welcome elderly parents since their eyesight may not be what it once was. This can be achieved with more powerful light bulbs, additional lighting and brighter paint on the walls. In addition, stairways and hallways should have light switches at both ends.
If your guests use a wheelchair be sure the flooring doesn’t inhibit the movement. However, if they don’t use a wheelchair it’s important to make sure your home’s flooring isn’t slippery. Dull with a good slip-resistant grip is a better option.
If you don’t reside in a single-level home, all of the stairways should have strong, sturdy handrails installed on both sides. In some cases, you may want to install automatic chair lifts or an elevator to take your parents up and down stairs if needed.
These are power chairs which use a motor to recline and gradually lift the occupant to a standing position. These can be found in a variety of styles, colours, sizes and fabrics to match most types of decor.
Some elderly people may also benefit from bed rails to help them getting in and out of bed.
8 – Wheelchair Accessible Curbless Shower
Wheelchair accessible curbless showers, also referred to as roll-in showers or Barrier free showers, provide safe and independent access for wheelchair users. Curbless showers are also safer for individuals who walk into the shower and make it easier to manage the transition into and out of the shower.
9-Lever Door Knobs
Standard round doorknobs can often be difficult for seniors to turn due to the required twisting motion. An easier option could be to install lever-style handles.
10-Lower Kitchen Countertops
Most kitchen countertops are approximately 34 inches from the floor. However, if your parent uses a wheelchair it’s easier for them to access countertops and cabinets that are about 30 inches in height.
It’s also important to remember the outside of the home as you may need brighter lighting and wider, clear. Be sure the areas are clutter-free for added safety and ramps may also be needed if there are currently steps in place.
When renovating your home for elderly parents it’s generally recommended that you work hand in hand with a design professional, construction contractor or licensed architect to make sure everything is installed safely.
If you will need to renovate your home or need to make an addition to your home, Novacon Construction can help. Contact us today for a free consultation.