Senior citizens with physical limitations should not feel like prisoners in their own homes because they lack the accommodations needed to live safely and comfortably. In this blog, we’ll discuss modifications that can be done to each room to make it accessible for seniors, particularly those that utilize the assistance of wheelchairs & walkers.
Doorways & Closets: To allow for ample access for wheelchairs and walkers, it is recommended that doorways to rooms and closets be enlarged to 32 inches in width to allow for maneuverability. To do this, the current doorway is removed and widened. Pocket doors which slide into the wall when they are open are another solution. This also eliminates the hassle of door knobs for those who are plagued by arthritis. Levered doorknobs are also more manageable for those with arthritis. Closets should be lit and the light switch should be easily accessible.
Bedroom: Beds should be adjusted to a height that is comfortable to get in and out of easily. Other recommendations to make the bedroom more accessible for those with limited mobility are touch lamps & a landline or cell phone located close to the bed. A chair with firm arms can serve as an aid for dressing.
Bathroom: At a minimum, grab bars should be installed in bathtubs and showers. They provide additional accessibility and allow someone who has fallen the ability to pull themselves up. In some cases, it’s beneficial to swap out a bathtub for a shower for easier access. Bathtub transfer benches can also make showering easier. Benches typically have 4 legs with rubber tips that guard against slipping. Some are designed to slide or swivel. Transfer benches usually have four legs with rubber tips to prevent slips, and there are various types of seats available that can slide or swivel. Showerheads with a removable hose feature can also prove to be beneficial. Toilets should also be adjusted to a height that minimizes the chance of falling. Raised toilet seats are available to assist those who may have limited strength in their hips or legs. Pedestal sinks offer more accessibility than sinks with storage connected to them. They can be lowered if the standard height restricts access. Nonslip bathmats are also encouraged.
Kitchen: Skip waxing and polishing the floors which can create a falling hazard. Keep reaching tools close by so if something is high on a shelf it can be safely removed. A side by side refrigerator can provide more convenience than the top and bottom versions. An advantage of an oven that opens from the side, rather than from the front, is that it eliminates the need to reach across the oven door to remove the food inside. Faucets are now made with long handles and pull out sprayers. Some can even be activated through touch. Roll-out shelving, drawers and “lazy susan” cupboards also provide convenience.
Other Helpful Hints:
-Remove any loose carpeting and/or rugs as they can get caught in wheel chair wheels or cause a tripping hazard.
-A paved driveway is easier to navigate than one that is comprised of crushed rock.
-A shelf on your porch can offer a spot for delivery drivers to leave package. This prevents the hassle of trying to pick a package off the ground for those that find this task difficult. This shelf can also hold items when you unlock the door to enter your home.
-Install railings on both sides of stairs
-Make sure hallways are lit with automatic nightlights which will assist in navigating your home in the dark.
-Motorized blinds provide an easy way to control the amount of sunlight that enters your home.
Call us now at 1-800-873-1451 or check us out on the web at www.lindusconstruction.com to schedule a free in-home. Tune into AM 830 WCCO on Saturdays from 9:00-10:00am hosted by Denny Long and Andy Lindus to ask questions regarding your home improvement projects.