5 Ways to Build Universal Access Into Your Existing Home
How to Make Your Home More Accessible for Elderly Loved Ones
It is not uncommon for an elderly parent to move in with their adult child once their health or disability reaches a certain point. But, odds are the adult child’s home wasn’t built with a senior’s needs in mind. This means that certain adjustments will have to be made to make the home more universally accessible.
Here are five ways you can incorporate universal access designs into your existing home so your elderly loved one can be more comfortable.
Automate the Home’s Lighting
Smart home technology allows you to control your home’s lighting by using a remote control or smartphone app. This can be a lifesaver for a senior because automated lighting systems mean that they won’t be forced to walk around in the dark, looking for the light switches when you’re either sleeping or away from home.
Your loved one can turn on the lights before entering the room and turn them off when leaving through the use of a simple remote.
Replace Your Tub With a Curbless Shower
It can be a challenge for an older person to step over the edge of a bathtub. In fact, it can even be a falling hazard. Therefore, you should replace one of the tubs in your home with a curbless shower. This will allow your loved one to walk right into the shower safely and unimpeded.
Add Shower Heads to Your Shower
Seniors can have difficulty when showering in a standard shower because of the direction the water sprays. But, by adding a second shower head, such as one on the ceiling of your shower, your loved one will find it much easier to shower. Adding a third head, this one a hand-held wand shower head, will provide your loved one with even greater flexibility in meeting their showering needs.
Make Your Home Wheelchair Friendly
If entering your home is only attainable by walking up a few steps and your loved one relies on a wheelchair to get around, then you need to take measures to make life easier for them. From having a ramp installed outside to keeping your hallways clear and creating wider throughways in the kitchen and living areas, you will enable your loved one to get in and around your home much easier in their wheelchair.
Install Supports Where Needed to Create Universal Access
Seniors need more support than their adult children. So, you should take into account the parts of your home where some extra support might be necessary. Common areas for hand-held supports include the bathroom (especially the shower and toilet) and the bedroom, for getting out of bed.
Just a Starting Point
Keep in mind that the above measures are simply a start for making your home more accessible for an elderly or disabled family member. Other things to consider include replacing your faucets with ones easier to operate for those with arthritis, installing towel hooks close to the shower, and adding other sources of natural light, like skylights.
Take the time to make your home more accessible for your loved one. Your loved one will greatly appreciate it and don’t forget, you may eventually need these conveniences one day as well in the (hopefully not too near) future.