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Saturday, 21 September 2019
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This Old House - Do-it-Yourself

Home Adaptations for the Elderly

Written by Posted On Saturday, 24 August 2019 05:30
The Elderly need homes adapted to suit them The Elderly need homes adapted to suit them

Growing old can mean everyday tasks become more difficult, and if your mobility is impaired you may find yourself more at risk of falling. Falling is one of the biggest dangers, resulting in high numbers of emergency hospital admissions, and as many as 5,000 people a year will die shortly after falling.

According to Live-in Care Hub, there are 75% fewer falls and fractures when you can be cared for in your own home, compared to moving into a residential facility. So making use of services like companion care along with home modifications can improve your safety and mobility around your home, as we will discuss below.

General considerations

Cluttered rooms can be difficult to navigate with walking aids, leading to trips or attempts to move around without assistance. If you need to use a stick or Zimmer frame in your home make sure you reduce the amount of furniture to allow ease of movement. Consider where your aid will be stored when you are relaxing in your favourite chair too – you may want to rearrange seating to keep it within arms reach.

Rugs can be another trip hazard so are best removed. If you have been diagnosed with dementia you may begin to see rugs and similar changes in floor texture differently, as holes or gaps, leading to stumbling.

In the bathroom

If you find it difficult to get into the bath then grab rails can give you something to hold onto. Non-slip matting on the bottom of the bath will also help you as you stand up. Avoid bathing unless there is a relative or home care assistant present.

You may prefer to get rid of the bath entirely and replace it with a walk-in shower. This has the advantage that you will be able to use it independently for longer. Grab rails for stability and a plastic shower stool can be helpful. A thermostatic unit is best to avoid scalding, or fit a system-wide thermostat to keep the hot water temperature to a safe level.

Toilets can often be too low for comfort. Adapters can be fitted to raise the height of the seat. If you find flushing it difficult then talk to a plumber about fitting a different flush mechanism.

In the bedroom

If you struggle to get out of bed, but don’t want to replace it, you can fit raisers which increase the height of the mattress. Make sure that your bedside table is easy to reach once you are in bed and that you can turn a light on easily.

In the kitchen

There are many gadgets to make cooking and preparing food safer. If funds allow, then refitting the kitchen with a high-level oven and microwave and easy to open cupboards and drawers is a good move. Smaller improvements could include fitting a tipper stand to your kettle, buying an electric tin opener or specialised gripper chopping boards. Talking scales and big scale measuring jugs can help if you find reading difficult but still wish to cook.

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