For older adults, bathroom safety modifications and home modifications can help them stay safe as they age in their own homes. Many seniors suffer from physical limitations that can make it difficult to live independently. Learning about ways to improve accessibility at home can reduce falls and other hazards for those with limited mobility.
There are plenty of permanent and temporary home improvements, kitchen improvements, and bathroom modications that are of critical importance as seniors age.
Key modifications for the elderly include general fixes that can be done around the home. This can prevent older adults from putting in additional effort as they move around their homes.
An essential part of home senior care is ensuring that the bathrooms are safe. Since slippery floors and hard tiles can be very dangerous, consider installing a grab bar and other modifications.
Some major considerations for the kitchen include ensuring that appliances are acessible, removing or covering sharp counter edges, and ensuring that the whole space is well lit to prevent accidents from occuring.
Seniors can ask professionals to help them identify the best home modifications for those that live alone. Identifying these are important for the seniors’ health and well-being, especially since 3 million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall-related injuries on an annual basis.
Ideally, it is best to consult with a professional occupational therapist or healthcare professional to determine which assistive technologies can best benefit your loved one.
They will need to consider the person's circumstances and living environments a whole to assess which changes would be most helpful for today's needs and those in the future as well.
They can also provide a cost assessment and recommend any free or discounted senior home resources in your area to help reduce the cost of renovations.
Other lifelong modifications to improve aging in place include:
For low income seniors to receive assistance in order to pay for adaptive technology and other home modifications, here are some resources where they can receive free or discounted aid.
1. Home Improvement Grants
Senior citizens who meet low-income requirements can qualify for federal grants for home projects, and you can check with your your state/city housing or housing finance agency, your state/city health or human services department, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in your state.
2. Low Interest Loans
The Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) 203(k) rehabilitation loan is a low interest loan for home modifications that can be used to refinance your mortgage and may be a better option than banks that have strict lending requirements.
3. Equipment Loans
Assistance programs in your area may provide free long term loans of home modification materials such as a portable wheelchair ramp or construction tools that can be returned after the borrower doesn't need them anymore.
4. Free Labor
Sometimes, non-profit organizations or charities in your state may offer to make home improvements for seniors on a volunteer basis, provided that you cover the cost of any building materials needed .
To help seniors to make smooth transitions as they age, here are some frequently asked questions about home modifications.
Home modifications aim to reduce risk of injury for people in their own homes while promoting independence for them and their caretakers. For seniors, these can involve adding grab bars and walk in tubs to bathrooms and a stair lift for the stairs.
You can get in touch with local organizations in your area that focus on providing certain senior home modifications for free. The more places you reach out to via email or phone call, the better your chances of finding something.
Seniors can modify bathrooms by installing lever faucets, adding grab bars, raising the height of the toilet, installing. a walk in shower, getting a sprayer attachment for their shower head, buying a bath tub chair lift, and installing nonslip flooring.
Unfortunately, medical does not cover the cost of home modifications for seniors and Medicare beneficiaries so you may need to pay for them through grants, low-interest loans, or other means.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, aging in place is defined as the “the ability to live in one's own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.”
In conclusion, home modifications can improve the day to day living of elderly individuals who prefer aging in place through their later years. This can decrease dependency on caregivers, improve overall safety, and prevent falls from occurring.
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