Getting older is a natural part of life, but it comes with its challenges. As a person gets older, their body slows down. As a result, it is not unusual for them to develop conditions like arthritis, joint problems, and issues with their mobility. In such circumstances, not only do these individuals need to go through a massive lifestyle change, but they also need to modify their house to fit their needs, and that’s where you need to make senior-friendly upgrades in your home.
Many cities in the United States, like Tampa, have a significant population of older adults. One of the reasons could be that it’s a major city along the Gulf Coast of the US, and Florida is the ideal retirement hub. According to the data published in 2023, more than 29,000 older adults aged 65 to 74 reside in Tampa. This means that creating sustainable housing for them has become imperative more than ever, so here’s what you can do:
1. Upgrade the Bathroom
Bathrooms pose safety concerns, particularly for senior adults. The combination of ceramic tiles and confined spaces can make these areas unsafe for them. Among the riskiest spots is the shower, where bathtubs and shower floors can become slippery due to water accumulation. For many older individuals, getting into a traditional tub may be difficult.
To address this issue, a practical solution is to redesign the bathroom layout and opt for a more functional walk-in bathtub. However, in Tampa, this renovation can be costly. Therefore, before you start working on this project, it’s essential to assess the Tampa walk-in tub installation cost. It will help you ensure that it’s a reasonable investment for the safety of older individuals.
2. Create a Smart Home
Managing a house becomes difficult for senior adults. There may be times when they forget to turn off the lights, TV, and other electronic appliances or even forget their medications. This can get in the way of their livelihood and, in the long run, make things worse. Therefore, considering these factors, you should integrate smart technology into your house.
There are many ways to do this. You can activate voice control by installing a smart home device like Alexa to control the lights and appliances. Likewise, you can teach an older individual how to use an automatic pill dispenser and install an app that alerts them when they need to take their medicines. If you’re willing to take it further, you can also install a door camera, enabling older adults to monitor their homes without the need to move around much.
3. Install Grab Bars
Older people are at a high risk of falling. They can stumble over their feet and sometimes lose their balance while walking. To prevent these situations from occurring, install grab bars in your house.
Grab bars are usually thick metallic railings that provide support. You will need to start by identifying areas where older people have a high chance of slipping, such as in the bathroom, near their toilets, and around the kitchen or elsewhere. Grab bars have no height requirements as such, but make sure when you’re installing them, they’re accessible and at an adequate level above the ground.
4. Switch to Slip-resistant Flooring
Ceramic and marble floors might be risky for older people in a house. The texture of these tiles makes them slippery, and if an older person slips, they can get injured. Hence, the flooring also needs significant modification so that senior adults can easily move around their house without the risk of falling. You don’t need to tear down the entire flooring; instead, apply anti-slip coatings along with a non-skid strip.
It will add friction to the floor and prevent it from becoming slippery. Furthermore, if your house has rugs, remove them and get the place carpeted instead. Carpets act as cushions and are much gentler on an older person’s feet.
5. Ensure The House is Brightly Lit
Poorly illuminated houses are dangerous for senior adults. They can easily hurt themselves or trip when they can’t see what’s ahead of them. Therefore, when upgrading your space, focus on installing proper lighting in the house. If there are heavy window coverings, you should remove them. This allows more natural light to enter the house and brightens the space. Try swapping curtains for blinds since they are far more manageable and control the light that should enter each room.
Moreover, invest in night lights and place them in the bathroom, bedroom, and hallway, allowing older people to move easily in the dark. It will also eliminate the need to turn on the light. You can also install motion-activated light fixtures in their bedroom and kitchen, eliminating the need for switches. Likewise, table lamps, floor lamps, under cabinet lighting, and overhead kitchen sink lights also need to be installed. Adequate lighting makes the house safer and convenient and prevents older people from straining their eyes.
6. Work on the Countertop and Sink
There is a high chance an older individual may bump into countertops and get hurt. For this reason, it is best you modify countertops too. Ensure that no sharp ends are sticking out and the place under the sink or workstation is empty. If needed, you can look into lowering the countertops or using slide-out work surfaces for older people who are in a wheelchair or cannot reach cabinets at a height.
Additionally, kitchen sinks can cause water to spill out or splash dangerously. To prevent this from happening, you can install a shallower sink. If the budget allows, you can install an electronic sink that can be raised or lowered according to the older person’s needs. For a more functional design, consider the older person’s height and install a sink that prevents them from bending over too much.
As their body and reflexes slow down, there’s a high chance older people may injure themselves as they move around in the house. You may need to work on numerous areas of your house if you have senior adults living with you. Kitchens, bathrooms, and bedrooms should be your primary areas of concern, and you should focus on making them senior-friendly. Likewise, take the house’s functional design into account. You may need to work on the carpeting, change the floor, or completely renovate the countertops. In general, look around, identify areas that need to be modified, and get to work.