5 Senior Friendly Remodeling Tips You Dont Want To Skip

Dated: 10/06/2017

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5 Senior-Friendly Remodeling Tips You Don’t Want to Skip

If you’re planning to remodel your home to “age in place,” you’ve probably factored in grab bars, wheelchair ramps, and wider doorways, but there’s a lot more to creating an accessible home than these common updates. When you’re planning for accessibility, be sure to take these five aging-in-place necessities into account. 

1. Install Grip-Friendly Handles 

Standard faucet handles, door knobs, and cabinet knobs aren’t very kind to hands weakened by arthritis or other conditions. For an aging-friendly home, plan to update the handles throughout your home. Doorknobs should be replaced with levered handles, faucets with a single lever that controls both temperature and flow, and cabinet handles should become C- or D-shaped pulls that can easily be pulled open with a finger or two, or even with the top of a cane. Similarly, you should replace oven knobs with digital buttons, and make sure the controls are on the front of the stove so you don’t have to reach over hot burners to operate them. 

2. Update Your Flooring

High-pile carpeting can increase the fall risk in seniors, who are more likely to drag their feet when they walk and/or rely on a cane or walker that could get snagged in plush carpeting. Replace high-pile carpeting with low-pile alternatives, and consider dropping the carpet completely. Wood, vinyl, and linoleum floors allow easier movement for wheelchairs and walkers than carpet. Just be careful to secure any area rugs or skip them entirely, because the edges of rugs and wrinkles can pose a tripping hazard. 

3. Increase Lighting

Installing additional and brighter lighting throughout your house — especially in workspaces like kitchens, laundry rooms, and reading nooks — is a great way to improve your home for senior living. You can install recessed lighting under cabinets to illuminate kitchen counters, upgrade existing lighting to brighter fixtures, and add easy-to-use push lights in areas that can’t accommodate permanent fixtures. Consider installing motion-activated lights to eliminate the risks of fumbling for a light switch in the dark. If you stick with manual lights, update the switches to rocker switches for easier use. 

4. Add High-Contrast Features 

Due to how age affects vision, seniors are at an increased risk of visibility-related accidents. A vision-impaired senior may miss the countertop when setting a dish down, or stumble when they can’t detect the start of a ramp. Adding visually contrasting features around your home can help you cope with changing vision. Add a decorative accent on countertops, textured strips at the beginning and end of ramps or on steps, and lightswitch plates that contrast walls. Updating your dishware to plates, bowls, and cups with colored rims can make serving and dining easier as well. 

5. Update Door and Window Locks 

Nothing beats fresh air through an open window, but senior hands may find some window styles too difficult to open and close. Make sure the mechanisms to open and close windows can be reached from a sitting position, and consider installing motorized window controls or other arthritis-friendly window hardware. To avoid having to twist deadbolts and wrangle with keys, update your front door to a keyless entry system. 

 Although these modifications may seem minor, they can have a big impact on the quality of everyday life in your later years. Unlocking doors, opening cabinets, and navigating your home are daily tasks, and you want them to be as simple and pain-free as possible. After all, a home that’s designed for successful aging in place should be more than maneuverable; it should be safe, comfortable, and convenient. 

By: Paul Denikin

Image via Pixabay by WDnetStudio

Bob Sophiea

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