by: April Talens
Consider The Elderly When Renovating
Given a massive aging population, it makes personal and financial sense to consider the elderly when planning home renovation projects. Insuring that the changes made increase accessibility and mobility increase both personal safety and property value.
Having an elderly person in the house makes consideration of their needs essential for home renovation. Mobility issues, disorientation and decreased vision are all relevant factors to keep in mind. In this article, we’ll go through the items to consider while renovating your home to make it safer and more accessible for the elderly.
Enough Light In All Rooms
A lack of adequate lighting is one factor that can compromise a home’s safety. Working areas such as the kitchen and library, among others, should be well-lit. As should stairwells and hallways. Increase natural light in the home by adding skylights and large windows. Sunlight is a valuable source of vitamin D, which benefits bone growth and strength and can help decrease depression among the elderly.
Ways To Improve Lighting In Your Home:
- Consider placing sun tunnels for the hallway.
- Fanlights can help natural light flow in the doorway and release the heat trapped in the ceiling.
- Opt for glass balusters for your stairwells to keep the steady flow of light. You can also install LED lights on the walls or steps.
- For bathrooms or rooms at the far end of the house, skylights can help.
- Ventilation is essential so factor window openings into designs, keeping in mind that when maximizing the use of natural light, glass doors and windows need to be well insulated.
One home modification you may want to consider is making slipping and tripping points in the house slip and trip resistant. Here’s some suggestions:
- Wet floors pose a danger for both elderly and the young. Choose non-slip floor tiles in specific areas like bathrooms and entryways. If you can’t afford costly renovations, purchase and use non-skid mats.
- Install shower grab bars and/or handrails in bathrooms for support.
- Choose door levers instead of knobs as twisting doorknobs can be arduous for some seniors.
- You may want to switch to low-pile carpeting.
- Handrails are a convenient addition on both sides of staircases, allowing the elderly to maintain a good grip while maneuvering up and down the stairs.
Secure Plugs And Electronics
Aging affects all senses, especially after age 60. One of those senses is the sense of balance. Removing as many slip and trip hazards as possible helps to prevent potentially catastrophic falls. Here are few suggestions for a more elderly friendly home:
- Avoid the use extension cords by installing electrical outlets at convenient points.
- Install user-friendly, rocker-type light switches and plug-ins for easy use by children and the elderly.
- Install motion activated lights in hallways and restrooms.
- Consider adding a hand-held shower head to avoid fatigue from standing too long in a fixed shower.
- Install additional security measures such as loud doorbells, an intercom system with emergency buttons to call for help. Intercoms are an especially convenient addition to bathrooms in case of emergency.
- Insure that all hallways and doorways are wheelchair accessible.
- Consider reduced ability to reach items in cupboard and storage designs.
- Insure that bathroom designs accommodate wheelchair use.
- Add entry and exit ramps. These additions aren’t just beneficial for the elderly and mobility challenged, but also for parents pushing baby strollers and packing groceries into the house. For specific dimensions and standards, be sure to consult your local city bylaw office.
- Switch single doors to bifold doors. They’re easier for the elderly using walkers and in wheelchairs to use.
Renovation = Preparation
Home renovation projects should always strive to improve the quality of life for everyone who lives in the home, especially the elderly. Remember, age only travels in one direction: upward. So, to make an efficient elderly-friendly home renovations, plan for the future – yours and your parents too.