As people age, everything seems to become a bit more difficult. Moving around the house or climbing stairs can cause joints to hurt; balance becomes more difficult; and, reaching and lifting result in pain or soreness more often. Eyes can also become weaker with age.
Fortunately, some of these problems can be alleviated with changes in the home environment and some simple adaptations. With careful planning, many of these modifications can be done to the current residence in an eco-friendly way to help seniors stay in their own homes. The following suggestions are a great starting point:
To Aid Mobility
• Installing hand rails in strategic areas can be helpful as the body weakens. Rails can aid in balance and prevent falling, which is a grave danger to seniors because their bones are so brittle.
• Replacing steps with ramps is also helpful. Elderly people have difficulty lifting their feet and tend to shuffle. This can be extremely dangerous when navigating steps even if a walker or wheelchair is not in use.
• Remove dangerous obstacles, such as small rugs, unsteady tables or rocking chairs from the vicinity of walking paths. Seniors use furniture to steady themselves and objects that move can cause them to become unbalanced. Try to ensure these items are re-used by donating them to a thrift store or offering them on a website such as Freecycle.
• Stairs can become a dangerous obstacle in the latter years of life. A reconditioned stair lift purchased from a reputable firm is a great adaptation to solve this problem without impacting the environment in a negative manner. It can take the worry and struggle out of using the stairs and will assure that the upstairs of the home is not off-limits because of aging.
To Make Chores Easier
• Explore thrift shops and yard sales to find some light weight pots and pans to replace heavier versions. Arthritic limbs make lifting extremely difficult.
• Replace all the light bulbs in the house with newer, low-energy fluorescent versions. Not only are these more eco-friendly, they also produce consistent, bright lighting to aid visibility for those with poor eye sight.
• Lower wall switches to make lighting easily accessible.
• Install a higher commode and shower seat, and consider an adjustable bed.
• Keep an eye out for second-hand chairs that are higher and firmer. Use these to replace those that are so soft they make it difficult for the elderly to sit or rise.
• Check to make sure that windows are draught stripped and attic insulation is sufficient to save energy, thus helping the planet and reducing heating bills. Elderly people want and need to be warmer than young folks.
• Organize the kitchen so that small appliances are within easy reach and food is stored in the most accessible places.
Most elderly people love their homes and function much better mentally when they are in a familiar environment. Once you have made the necessary home adaptations, you can feel more confident about your safety and quality of life when you choose to remain in your cherished home. You can take pride in the knowledge that your home can be modified to be elder-friendly whilst at the same time lessening your footprint on the planet.
This guest post was written by Claire Bradshaw. Claire contributes to a website that offers practical advice about stair lifts. She has personal experience of adapting the homes of her elderly grandparents in a way that is mindful of the environment at the same time as making their lives easier.