Making small and simple changes to the home of an elderly person can make it much more comfortable for them.
It can be difficult to know where to start, especially if they have lived in the home a long time, but by working closely with your loved one you can make choices that feel right for them.
Adapting the home for an elderly person should make it easier for them to navigate around their home and make it safer for them to execute their daily tasks without the risk of injuring themselves. The safety of homes differ from house to house, but even small changes can make a great impact in minimising the risk.
Below are some changes that can be made to homes to minimise the risk of falls and injury in elderly people.
Doorbell – A smart doorbell is a great adaption to have in the home. It allows people to ‘answer’ the door through their phone, giving them time to get to the door. Often when couriers ring the doorbell, you rush up to answer so you don’t miss them but with a smart doorbell, you can see the person who has rung the doorbell. This allows elderly people to instruct where to leave a delivery whilst they take their time getting to the door. It is also a good adaption to have for security reasons as it has a camera which records movement.
Lighting – Make sure the home is well lit. Falls can often happen in the night when elderly people get up to use the toilet and it is dark in their bedroom or the hallway. Installing motion sensor lights that switch on when your loved one gets out of bed or enters a room is a good way to make sure they can see all steps, doorways and obstructions, day or night.
Stairs – Stairs are notorious for falls and most of the time people recover but for elderly people, it can cause extremely serious damage and sometimes in a worst-case scenario, cause death. By installing an extra banister rail to internal and external stairs, it will give your loved one more security when going up and down the stairs.
Depending on the layout and size of your loved one’s home, it may even be a good idea to install a stairlift so they can go up and down the stairs without worrying about tripping and falling. If your loved one rents, you will have to take into consideration whether you need permission from your landlord to make these changes.
Bathroom – There are many changes that can be made to bathrooms that make it easier for elderly people to use them. Consider installing a ‘hands-free’ toilet that operates a washing and drying function whilst the user is seated.
Another bathroom adaption to think about is a battery-powered bath lift. This will support your loved one’s weight as they get in and out of the bath. Alternatively, a bath with a side opening means that they can just walk in and out rather than trying to climb over the side.