Reaching older age is inevitable. All of us will eventually reach an age where we have to modify our lives and homes in order to help us complete day-to-day activities. One of the biggest adjustments someone must make is modifying their home for older age and mobility. If you notice it’s much more difficult to move around in your home, it’s a good idea to know how to prepare your home for old age. Whether you want to prepare your home for yourself or are preparing to move in with an older relative, below are some simple ideas to help you get prepared.
1. Fix Uneven Floors
Uneven floors can be hazardous to aging loved ones. If they don’t have a cane to help them walk, or if they have poor balance, uneven floors can be some of the biggest trip hazards. If you have uneven floors, it might be time to look into foundation repairs. One of the biggest signs of a flawed foundation is sagging floors. In addition to foundational issues, you should also replace any loose floorboards that might also pose a trip hazard.
2. Update Your Plumbing
If you’re wondering how to prepare your home for old age, consider plumbing. You never want your loved one to have difficulty using the restroom or kitchen sinks. Plumbing issues can cause stoppages and leaks that can make life very inconvenient and difficult for your loved one. It’s best to contact a plumbing service so water is always available for your aging loved one. Plumbing services can ensure older relatives have access to clean water at all times for cooking, bathing, cleaning, and also drinking! You never want your loved one to not have access to clean water or to consume dirty water.
3. Keep Your Home At a Comfortable Temperature
It’s important to keep your home at a comfortable temperature that’s not too hot and not too cold. A heating contractor will be able to make sure your home is warm during the winter months and cool during the summer months. Aging loved ones can be prone to chronic dehydration, especially if they continuously sweat due to living in hot environments. Colder temperatures can also cause your loved ones to be incredibly uncomfortable, and severe cases can lead to hypothermia and an increased risk of illness. If you want to know how to prepare your home for old age, make sure to insulate all rooms your loved ones are sleeping in and get the help of heating services for your home.
4. Fix Existing Roof Problems
Small roof leaks can eventually lead to huge problems, including mold and mildew build-up, destroyed drywall, and even foundation problems. It’s important to fix existing roof issues before they escalate further. Roofing replacements can be an incredibly expensive fix, which older individuals might not be able to easily afford on a fixed income. Fortunately, a roofer can help diagnose and repair roofing issues before they get out of hand. If you notice missing or cracked tiles on your roof, mold, moss, or leaks, contact a roofer as soon as possible to help you.
5. Update Your Furnace
Furances come in all shapes and sizes, but they all have one incredibly important function- to heat up your home. If you have a furnace in your home, it’s a good idea to get the help of a furnace repair service company if you notice your home isn’t as warm as it used to be. Furnaces can generate a lot of heat, so fixing one on your own without experience can be incredibly dangerous. This is especially true for older loved ones. There are also various types of furnaces, from oil to propane, electric, and more. It’s important to get professional help before attempting to fix a furnace.
6. Clear Off Outside Debris
If your older relative loves to spend time outdoors, it’s important to help them access the outdoors safely and easily while minimizing trip hazards. Your loved ones should be able to walk around the outside of their home without fear of slipping on debris. Clear away any slippery leaves, lay down salt to prevent ice build-up, and clear away any trash that might linger on your lawn as well. Debris can also accumulate on your gutters, so it’s also a good idea to clear your gutters as well. Taking the time to clear away debris from gutters and other areas on the outside of the home will ensure your loved one can take a stroll outside without fear of slipping and falling.
7. Update Kitchen Cabinets
Kitchen cabinets are central to the home, and they can make cooking and using the kitchen a dream, or a nightmare! If you have an older relative living at home, it’s best to update your kitchen cabinets so cooking supplies can be easily accessible to them. For those wondering how to prepare your home for old age, install some pull-out drawers inside of your kitchen cabinets. You should also repair any cabinets that are difficult to open and close by updating your kitchen cabinets by installing soft-close cabinet hinges. Finally, move all necessary items to lower kitchen cabinets to reduce the risk of overreaching, slipping, and falling.
8. Install Easy-to-Use Blinds
Window blinds offer a great combination of light and privacy. However, sometimes older window blinds can be difficult to maneuver for older individuals. Newer window shades are, fortunately, able to be cleaned easily and can even be remote-controlled for easier use. If your loved one has difficulty pulling the strings on heavier window blinds, consider switching to a more modern option.
9. Add a Sunroom
One of the best things about retirement and old age is being able to relax in your own home and spend time gazing at the outdoors. If you want to know how to prepare your home for old age, you should also consider amenities to help you and your loved ones relax and enjoy retirement! What better way than to add a sunroom into your home? Sunrooms are also known as 3 season porches, and they can be a beautiful (and valuable) addition to your home. Use your 3 season sunroom to grow plants, as an extra entertainment room, or simply to relax and practice mindfulness in. This is truly one of the best additions to any home with aging loved ones. They can enjoy the outdoors without having to suffer from the elements!
10. Make Your Outdoor Living Space Senior-Friendly
If you have a rather large property, it’s always a good idea to make your outdoors senior-friendly. If you have a path that your loved one likes to walk down or visit, try adding some benches so they can rest and take in the sights. We’ve mentioned clearing away debris, but it’s also a good idea to add other amenities, such as rails and water fountains to help your loved ones enjoy their time outdoors. If you live in a snowy area, always make sure to lay down salt and clear away snow to prevent the formation of ice. If you need any extra help on how to prepare your home for old age, contact a landscape designer to help with the outside of your home.
11. Add Handrails Throughout the Home
Hand rails are great additions to the home. They can help your aging loved ones support themselves and also add a layer of safety. Hand-rails can be installed on the side of any stairways, inside of bathtubs, and also inside of hallways. These handrails can even add style to your home, such as handrails incorporated into the look of your hallway. Traditional wood handrails are always a good choice, as are any handrails that have rubber grips on them.
12. Add Ramps
If your loved one uses a wheelchair, it’s best to add ramps to your home and make it ADA friendly. Adding ramps to your home can make it significantly easier to transport your loved one or yourself to and from doctor’s appointments, outings, and inside and outside the home. In case of an emergency, ramps also make it easier for firefighters and paramedics to reach you or your loved one. Make sure to add ramps to any areas of the home that have stairs. You should never install a steep ramp, but instead, use a ramp that has a slight slope so as to avoid further injuries.
13. Secure Rugs
If you want to know how to prepare your home for old age, one of the easiest modifications is to secure rugs or remove them completely. Rugs can be placed on top of rubber non-slip mats to prevent slips and falls. Unfortunately, sometimes this isn’t enough to prevent your loved one from tripping over them. It’s best to use rugs only rooms where your loved one won’t visit, or remove them completely. If you want your home to still have some type of floor decor, consider installing a tile mosaic or patterned wood floor. These are not only beautiful but can add value to your home, too!
14. Install a Stairlift
If you have various sets of stairs in your home, or if your living and bedroom areas are on the second floors of your home, chances are you or your loved one will need to use the stairs on a daily basis. Install a stairlift to make it easier to go up and down flights of stairs. If your loved one has lost the use of their legs, stairlifts are a great way to transport them easily without risking additional injury to you or your loved one.
15. Modify Your Bathtub
We’ve already mentioned adding handrails to the bathtub to add some security. However, it’s important to know how to prepare your home for old age and modify the rest of the bathtub as well. Why? Well, 80% of falls occur in the bathroom! Some of the best ways to prevent these falls are to customize a bathtub and install a walk-in bathtub. This allows you or your loved one to simply walk in instead of reaching your leg over the tub to enter. Other modifications include installing a shower chair, placing bathing supplies within reach, and installing non-slip rubber grips on the floor of the shower or bathtub.
16. Apply Nonskid Wax to Floors
Another way to prevent slips and falls if you have hardwood floors is to apply nonskid wax. This allows your aging loved one to walk freely or with a cane without having to worry about slipping on shiny, waxed floors. Instead of waxing your floors using other methods, nonskid wax gives your floors shine and also adds a layer of protection against slip and fall accidents.
17. Install Phones In Every Room
We never want to think about emergency situations. However, it’s important to know how to prepare your home for old age and maximize safety. Wearing an alert system around your neck can help, but what if you forget to put it on? It’s always a good idea to install landline phones in every room in case of an emergency. When calling 911, landline phones are also easily traceable, meaning you only need to dial and the operators will try to locate you through the landline phone. Installing phones can give you and your aging loved one peace of mind and security knowing you’ll be able to call for help.
18. Clear Away Indoor Clutter
As you or your loved one age, you will have to have more equipment at hand. From Oxygen tanks to wheelchairs, motorized scooters, and other medical equipment, it’s important to make space for all of these. Make sure to keep your home cleared away from clutter to make it easier to move around as well as store your equipment.
By knowing how to prepare your home for old age, you’ll be prepared and prevent accidents from occurring. Follow the tips above for your or your loved one!