How To Help Your Elderly Parents Age in Place by Remodeling Your Home
Learn the different ways you may remodel your home so that your elderly parents can age in place
Chances are your parents want to stay in their home as long as possible, which is also known as "aging in place." Of course, they do; their home is comfortable, familiar, and full of good memories. The problem is that most homes are not designed around the specific needs of seniors.
The good news is that there is much you can do to make your parents' home a safe place to live as they age.
Helping your parents age in place takes planning and some honest conversations, but it can save everyone in the family a considerable amount of money compared to a nursing home or assisted living facility. You can also give your parents the freedom and independence they need to thrive in this next phase of life.
Whether your loved one is moving in with you or staying in their own personal home, you can make the environment safer with home renovations and additions. Read on to learn about your options.
According to the National Aging in Place Council, the bathroom is the most likely place in the home for an older person to slip and fall due to excess moisture. The National Council on Aging reports that falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for seniors, so the bathroom should be your first concern.
1. The bathtub or the shower
Look carefully at the bathtub or shower. Bathtubs or showers that require you to lift your leg to get in are common hazards for seniors. However, there are several ways to make them more secure.
Consider getting a walk-in tub if your family can afford it.
2. The toilet
If your parents have a hard time getting on and off the toilet, install a model that sits higher off the ground or purchase a toilet seat riser, which raises the height of your existing toilet.
Your parents may have to get up at night to use the bathroom. Make sure your master bathroom is well lit and that there are plenty of nightlights to illuminate the hallway and bathroom so they can see where they are going. Also, remove slippery rugs that can cause tripping.
The kitchen is often full of dangers for the elderly. It's also where many individuals spend a significant amount of time at home, so it's a good place to start.
1. Cabinets and drawers
How easy is it to open the drawers in your parents' kitchen? Drawers with knobs are more difficult to open, especially if arthritis is a problem. D-shaped pulls are much easier to grasp, even for people with a reduced range of motion in their fingers.
2. The sink
Do your parents wash dishes in their sink? As they do so, watch their posture. Do they have to bend down a lot to reach a plate when it's in the sink? If so, the sink might be too deep. There are a few options to fix this.
Depending on the sink and countertop, you may be able to adjust the height of the sink. You might also consider installing a shallow sink, which is usually five or six inches deep.
Start with the stove. Is it gas or electricity? While each has its own dangers, gas stoves can be more dangerous due to the open flame. Electric stoves often come with a color indicator that lets you know when the stove is still hot, even after the stove has been turned off.
The same goes for the refrigerator. High-tech Wi-Fi-enabled models can be exciting for you, but overwhelming for your parents. Discuss the options with your parents to determine how high-tech they want to go.
Ideally, your parents will have a bedroom (and bathroom) on the main floor so they don't have to use the stairs. As your parents get older, going up and down a long flight of stairs will become dangerous, so do whatever it takes to get them a bedroom on the same floor. If this is not possible, you will have to install a chair lift to reduce the risk of falling.
Getting in and out of bed can be a challenge for older adults, so install safety handles on the bed to make it easier.
Your parents should also have a phone by their bed in case they need to call for help. Cell phones can be lost or left in another room when needed, so consider a landline phone for emergencies.
D) Wide corridors
Whether you're creating an entirely new space or expanding your current home, see if you can make your hallways more accessible.
Wider hallways leave more room for mobility devices like wheelchairs, and walkers.
They also leave ample room to add railings for seniors who are still mobile but also want the safety of a handrail just in case.
E) Create a space without stairs
Stairs present a challenge for the elderly. They increase the risk of falls, are difficult to navigate at night, and are impossible for people who need mobility aid. If you don't want a stair-free space, you can add a chair-lift.
If you're adding a guest house, make it without stairs. A simple single-level apartment or bungalow is more than enough for your elderly parents to live comfortably.
If you're expanding your current home, this is the perfect opportunity to make sure all household necessities are available on the ground floor.
F) Consider an ADU for your property
If your parents aren't ready to move to an assisted living community but aren't interested in staying in their current home either, consider adding an additional home to your property.
It's a separate space where your elderly parents can have privacy while still being close to you. When you add an ADU, you can start from scratch to create the perfect living space without having to make any significant changes to your existing home.
Whether you're upgrading your home with these renovations for elderly parents or building an entirely new space for them, getting your work done through remodeling services in San Jose by Turner Home Remodeling will help you create an accessible and comfortable space.
Ready to start planning for an elderly parent's home? We at Turner Home Remodeling want to make your vision a reality. Contact us for more details.