As someone you love grows older and needs more help, you may be considering your loved one’s living options to keep her or him safe and happy.
Here are some low-cost tips to help you modify an existing home as your loved ones age:
Tip #1: Remove Any Throw Rugs
Throw rugs are nice accents to a room, but as your loved one ages, they can become a hindrance. The ends can flip up, catch someone’s foot, and in a split of a second, s/he could be on the floor. As well as being a falling hazard, if your loved one is using a walker, throw rugs can make it difficult to move around freely in the house.
Tip #2: Wrangle Power Cords
With the use of more technology, there comes the issue of more cords around the house. The cords seem to go in all different directions and can pose another falling risk. If you have any bread ties or zip ties, you can tie the cords together to condense them and keep them out of pathways. Binder clips are also another great tool to help wrangle the cords. As an example, you can use the binder clip to clip a phone charger to a bedside table. Also, look into cheap wireless chargers, if possible.
Tip #3: Add Support to the Bathroom
According to a recent Canadian study, “Almost one-third of participants (32%) had at least one fall in the year preceding the study, of whom about 15% fell in the bathroom. Over half of the bathroom falls were related to bath or toilet transfers and 80% resulted in mild to severe injuries. Most seniors with access to bathroom devices used them regularly and found them helpful.”
Bath bars and bath chairs are an inexpensive solution to a very serious issue. Bath bars can range about $15 for a two pack and can be put in the shower and next to the toilet, while a bath chair is usually around $50. Free standing handrails for toilets can help them get up safely start around $30. All of these are good ways to make sure the elderly have support while taking care of their basic needs.
Tip #4: Use Nightlights
Stumbling around in the dark is no fun for anyone but especially someone with limited mobility. Nightlights are a cheap and effective way of lighting up a space during the night. If your loved one is someone who doesn’t like light when s/he sleeps, there are even motion sensor lights that will come on when s/he moves to get out of bed.
Tip #5: Arrange Your Living Spaces to Be the Most Efficient
This tip is probably going to be the hardest because it pushes for the most change in a house. It is looking at how things are currently arranged and seeing how it works for you. Is your coffee table too far from the chair? This could cause your loved one to lean too much while putting down a book or cup of tea and fall. Are any of the chair or table legs sticking out? Even the back legs of a rollator could be yet another falling hazard.
In addition to rearranging the furniture, you may need to go through some of you or your loved one’s things and get rid of clutter. This doesn’t mean your keepsakes, but you might have a stack of old newspapers or magazines that could be donated or recycled. The more stacks of clutter you have, the more likely one of them is to fall and have to be cleaned up.
Finally, gripper-grabbers are a great low-cost accessory to prevent the elderly (and you!) from having to bend over.
Tip #6: Have an Occupational Therapist Walk Through the House
Some benefit packages will cover an occupational therapist walking through the house, pointing out little things that you most likely will not even realize.
These are just some low-cost things you can do to make you or your loved one’s current home more elder-friendly. There are definitely expensive things you can do, but first, try these tips, and see how they can help out!
By Carter Heller