There are many living options available for people once they reach the age of retirement. Seniors with no significant health concerns tend to go to regular retirement communities where they can continue to live independently and bond with other active elders. Nursing homes and assisted living communities are always open for people with significant health or movement concerns or people who would rather have another person by their side to take care of them.
Some seniors choose to stick with their lifelong homes and live comfortably, either alone, with family members, or hired professionals for assistance. These people feel safer and more at ease living in a community that they have grown familiar with and would rather stay there than start anew in another circle.
If your parents or grandparents decide that they should live alone in their house instead of moving to a retirement community, you need to respect their decision. The best thing you can do to ensure they live a secure and comfortable life is to install a few modifications to the house for added safety measures.
Here are a few simple and easy-to-do customizations to make their home a safer haven.
Install ramps for easier access
As we grow older, the body starts to feel the wear and tear of the years, and our feet might not work as they used to. It becomes harder for older people to keep their balance as they move, which is why a lot of seniors rely on canes as a third leg.
Stairs can prove challenging for seniors, so installing a ramp to provide them an alternative way to enter and exit a room will give them a more comfortable and safer time navigating around the house. Ramps become an even bigger necessity if the elderly use wheelchairs, as it would be dangerous for them to move around without properly inclined slopes.
Although ramp installations can be somewhat expensive, you can’t put a price on the safety of your loved ones. If permanent modifications still prove to be too pricey, you can always opt for removable mobile ramps, make sure that they are correctly installed so that they won’t come off while the elderly are using them.
Add safety devices to the bathroom
The bathroom is one of the most accident-prone areas in the house due to its slippery nature. Reports show that over 235,000 people over the age of fifteen are involved in bathroom-related accidents every year. The risks would even be higher in a household that only seniors would live in.
There are multiple modifications that you can do to the bathroom to lessen the chances of injuries. For instance, you can replace the bathtub with a walk-in shower for a much safer entry and exit while bathing. If the seniors insist on keeping a bathtub, a walk-in tub can be used instead to prevent falling and slipping.
Safety bars can also be placed to the tub for better handling, or to the walls to assist movement on wet floors. You can also purchase transfer benches so that the elderly can get into the bathtub in a safe, sitting position instead of stepping into it.
Invest in assistive technology if necessary
Thanks to the continuous innovation of technology, there are several products that you can buy to help seniors move more comfortably. For starters, a lifting seat can help an older person stand up from a sitting position with way less muscle strain, which is essential in keeping the legs and hips healthy.
Full-body lifts and sit-to-stand lifts are also available for people who need that extra push to stand up without hurting themselves. Some products offer motorized lifting so that the elderly can exert minimal effort as the lift guides their body up and into a standing form.
Ceiling track systems are an invaluable tool in helping seniors who have mobility concerns to move safely and efficiently from one room to another. However, since the hoist ultimately relies on the ceiling for balance, it is best to hire a professional to check if your ceiling is capable of supporting the system and also to install it for you.
There are many more home modifications that you can look into to assist seniors, depending on what they need. However, no technology or customization can provide the same level of care that another human being can. If you feel that it is not in your parents’ or grandparents’ best interest to be living alone, you should let them know about your concerns so that you can talk it through as a family.