Home Renovations For The Elderly
Many older adults have spent their youth raising families in their homes and making priceless memories with their loved ones. Unfortunately, many senior community members want to remain in the house they spent so many joyful years. The rest of the older adults may have to relocate their permanent accommodation for their declining health and medical supervision.
As long as we appreciate our elderly parents, grandparents or acquaintances living a happy, independent life in their very own residences - some functional changes and home modifications are required for a safer and secure living.
This article focuses on 15 tips on a senior-friendly home modification for older adults who choose to live an independent life on their own without spending a substantial amount of money in retirement facilities. Point to be noted that while some of these tips are small adjustments, the others are large-scale arrangements that require professional assistance.
At First, Take a Professional Assessment
Before you start mapping out the complete renovation details, consider getting a comprehensive home safety assessment conducted by a trained advisor or occupational therapist. The occupational therapist assesses every part of the house, including the house exterior, entry areas, electrical safety, fire safety, lighting evaluation, floor materials. The therapist also identifies potential safety concerns and hazards.
Additionally, the professional home assessment provides best practice guidelines and complete home remodelling summary, recommendations and checklists.
Consider these 15 Senior-Friendly Home Remodelling Tips
- Slip-resistant flooring: Choosing a flooring material for seniors doesn't have to be complicated. The flooring materials have to uphold the safety of elderly residents with comfortable, easy to travel, easy to maintain surface with a high coefficient of friction and reduced chance of slips and trips. There are many slip-resistant flooring options available in the market, including hardwood, vinyl, rubber, corks, carpeting etc.
- Widened doors and hallways: One of the first steps of renovating a house for the senior house member is to widen the doorways and hallways for maneuvering wheelchair, walker or mobility scooter easily. Typical outlets are 24" to 30", where a standard wheelchair length is no less than 26". So it's important to install doors and hallways out to at least 36" with smoother sliding, easier pulling/pushing door features.
- Lever style window and doorknobs: Consider replacing the round doorknobs with old-school lever-style door and window knobs, which are easier to grip and hold. These levers can be very helpful, especially for elderly residents with arthritis or other health conditions that limit motions and mobilities.
- Walk-in closet: Door-free walk-in closet with lowered hanging racks and draws and plenty of room to manoeuvre is an ideal option for the elderly. It is also easy to install a proper lighting system into the walking closet. So they can arrange their essentials and personal belongings in their own preferred way without having difficulties reaching out for any item.
- Grab bars and bed rails: While remodelling a home for elderly members, it is important to understand that any minor accident can occur anywhere in the house. Therefore, installing all the precautionary safety features around the house is a must. As a part of safety features, consider installing adjustable bed rails and safety grab bars around bedrooms, kitchen and toilet areas.
- Seated workspaces: A perfect home for senior residents requires an open, well-ventilated space with comfortable seating arrangements. Whether it's in the kitchen or the laundry room- you need to consider adding comfortable chairs or a divan at a distance from the table that eliminates painful bending.
- Access to phone in each room: While remodelling the house for seniors, you need to make sure you place phone extensions in every room on a low surface and easily accessible distance with an emergency contact button.
- Wheelchair ramp: Whether the elderly members have difficulty with movements or not, it is always wise to install a wheelchair ramp to help them enter and exit the home without any assistance. Wheelchair rams can essentially reduce the risk of any accidents or injuries. Elderly residents can easily get out of the house and have some fresh air or go to grocery stores without worrying about any potential risk of tripping or falling over the stairs. Ramps also come in handy to access medical facilities quickly.
- Bright room colour schemes: For senior members spreading a great amount of time indoors, you have to make the room colours warm, cosy and welcoming. There are many stimulating warm colour palettes of blue and green. Bright pastel colour palettes also infuse a calm and cheerful atmosphere. Before choosing the colour palettes for each room, make sure you consult with Dulux accredited painters to help you through the appropriate paint selection and application process.
- Medical alert systems: A medical alert system is, without a doubt, the essential part of an elderly accommodation facility. Medical alert systems, also known as personal emergency response systems, give the elderly residents peace of mind knowing any immediate medical help or emergency assistance is only a button-press away. This button connects to a live medical assistant or designated helping hand right away. You can let an expert help you choose the appropriate emergency alert system and device for your home.
- Clap-detection lights and fans: Clap-detection lighting and cooling system, also known as a clap switch, is a smart, hassle-free solution especially helpful for elderly, mobility-impaired members. This electric system converts sound energy or clap sound into electrical pulses and uses these pulses to input the circuit. As an output, the lights and fans will turn on with the detection of any clapping sound. If the senior members are not comfortable with the remote control lighting option, the clap switch can be a great alternative.
- Programmable temperature controls: Programmable temperature control installation is a must-have for older residents. It provides a comfortable, consistent, yet easily controllable temperature throughout the house and heats only the chosen rooms. This programmable thermostat also includes climate control with eight or more different temperatures.
- Smart security systems: Smart security systems are the first step towards futuristic home automation features that greatly contribute to home renovations for the elderly. A home automation system covers a wide range of wireless facilities, including smart doorbells, motion-sensor security cameras, smart locks, smart security alarms etc. Just with a steady Wi-Fi connection and remotely controlled smartphone application, you can monitor and control everything.
- Bathroom rearrangement: You most likely need to invest a lot of time remodelling the bathroom facility suitable for senior usage. Replace the traditional bathtub with a faucet set with an extendable showerhead with a comfortable shower chair. In addition, you have to consider adding many grab bars and raised toilet seats, which can alleviate pain, discomfort and any risk of falling. It would help if you also made sure the bathroom is walker and wheelchair ready.
- Suitable curb with proper lighting: As a part of the elderly home renovation project, you need to find the appropriate way to map out the house yard right for seniors to relax and enjoy breezy afternoons. Having greenery with proper surface traction is important. So make sure the trees, shrubs and grass are trimmed with enough walking space and sitting arrangements. Then, with the help of experts, you should remove and fix all the cracks or moss growth on the walkways.
If you have aging parents living alone, you may not always be aware of their struggles or safety concerns. Home renovation experts can help you with recognising their needs and difficulties.
If you happen to live in Sydney and plan to renovate a place for your parents or elderly acquaintance, you can contact Premier Painting Company. Our residential painters can help you throughout the house remodelling process and prepare a suitable space for elderly living with dependable artisanship.