Home Modifications for Seniors: 10 Ways to Improve Accessibility and Safety

Jia Hui

Jia Hui is a content marketer who loves helping others and hopes to make this world a kinder place in any way she can.

Jia Hui

Jia Hui is a content marketer who loves helping others and hopes to make this world a kinder place in any way she can.

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While many of our elderly family members like the amenities and laid-back atmosphere of assisted living facilities, the majority of individuals prefer to remain in place in their traditional homes and communities. Continue reading if you’d like to find more information regarding ageing-friendly home modification services and assistive technologies that can help your seniors stay independent while living at home by giving them access to cutting-edge technology.

10 Must-Have Home Modifications for Seniors Aging in Place

Seniors are more sensitive as they get older, therefore it is not surprising that we give them various treatments. Those who are ageing find it difficult to maintain a high quality of life due to conditions including joint pain, disability, and even memory loss. In other cases, it can even be difficult to just let them live alone as there’s no assurance of their safety, particularly if no one is constantly keeping an eye on them.

It is indeed important to follow a few basic principles when designing a home that is suitable for senior people. Experts in interior design prioritize problems including mobility restrictions, medical issues, comfort, and safety when undertaking tasks that provide home modification services.

1. Widen Doorways

Widening doorways is an essential home modification for senior citizens who use mobility aids like wheelchairs or walkers to get around their houses. However, the expense of enlarging doorways varies significantly based on the insulation and location of switches and ports inside the house.

2. Kitchen Modifications

The elderly may realize as they grow older that their kitchen counters are too high and also that their appliances seem to be no longer in the best possible placements, particularly if they use a wheelchair. To provide easy access from a seated position, making some more complicated modifications in their kitchens might be necessary.  Also, placing appliances, like microwaves on stands generally makes things simpler for seniors who are still living in their homes.

3. Shower and Bathtub Modifications

Slip-and-fall accidents pose a major risk to individuals who are elderly, and the repercussions can be disastrous. Nonetheless, bathroom renovations receive special attention in the majority of the home improvement programme. A walk-in bathtub, for instance, eliminates the need for active seniors to enter or exit a normal bathtub. Yet, such a bathtub typically costs more than a regular bathtub. To avoid an elderly relative needing to stand for a long time when taking a shower, bath chairs can be built underneath the shower head. 

Moreover, non slip treatments are necessary for bathrooms since existing floor tiles, such as tiles and enamel, are extremely slippery. One of the easiest and least expensive options that will provide a great outcome for wet and slippery areas is anti-slip stickers.

4. Flooring Modifications

As older people make changes to their homes to age in place, flooring is another thing to take into account. The ideal approach is to consider all of the parts of the home that pose the most difficulty or concern when making changes for elderly residents who are ageing in place. Make allowances if anything is particularly challenging for seniors, such as reaching the light switches or counters. If there are any possible slipping or falling risks, get rid of them or change them as necessary.

5. Ramp and Lift Installation

Many senior citizens struggle to ascend stairs due to mobility problems. Also, some of them will need wheelchairs on a daily basis. Having said that, their house should be wheelchair-accessible in design. This might entail installing ramps, widening the halls, and enlarging the doorframes.

Fortunately, the HDB in Singapore has a scheme that streamlines the ramp and lifts installation process. For people who live in older apartments with staircases and multiple-step entrances, the EASE program offers ramps. Additionally, it includes the installation of grab bars use and ramps within their apartments or residences, as well as slip-resistant solutions for the ground floor.

6. Grab Bar Installation

When it concerns improving mobility and safety, grab bars are a significant factor in home interior design. Moreover, it might be a good idea to place grab bars in the hallways, particularly close to the door. Grab bars will also give elders considerable leverage and security because they are readily available. The elderly can improve their homes in one of the easiest and least expensive ways possible, and it will unquestionably improve their quality of life.

7. In-Home Security Monitors

Even if our elderly relatives may prefer to remain independent, their loved ones will be concerned for them. Installing in-home security monitors is a smart solution that provides security for everyone. Also, a significant part of smart home solutions has grown to include in-home security monitors. The majority of these systems also have extra security components like burglar alarms, smart locks, and surveillance camera solutions.

8. Fall-Proofing

Several areas of the HDB apartment or residences also benefit from fall-proofing, even though anti-slip measures in the bathroom are necessary. Also, appropriate floor materials must be used to prevent falls. Compared to marble or tiles, hardwood floors are typically less slick. Besides that important is the removal of gaps, obstructions, and transitions between rooms.

9. Switch and Socket Improvements

It will be essential to match the location of switches and plugs with the older person’s capabilities, especially those wheelchair bound. Seniors may struggle with the more conventional, more efficient types, so large-knob switches are an excellent alternative. To avoid wires and cables lying on the ground, sockets must be easily accessible and near to devices everywhere.

10. Assistive Technology Modifications

Along with the various current home modifications, assistive technology can be an excellent option that is simpler to put into practice and will not call for making any long-term changes to your house. For those who are looking to enhance their safety while ageing in place, there are several accessible options available other than senior-friendly home design, including home monitoring systems that might replace a caregiver or occupational therapist to assist an independent elderly loved one.

Medical Alert Systems

Essentially, medical alert systems belong to the most beneficial resources for an elderly individual. When a fall occurs, they alert the preset emergency contacts and services and provide supervision to the elderly who are at risk. Both wearable technology and simple mobile applications are available for these alarm systems. If either they live at home or in an assisted living facility and attempt to maintain as much independence as possible, a medical alert system may serve as a low-cost yet life-saving solution.

Smart Home Devices

Voice-activated home appliances like the Amazon Echo and Google Home are excellent for the common elderly person who needs help with automated lighting, medicine reminders, and appointment reminders. Such technologies are simple to set up and connect to a mobile application that allows you to configure customized settings based on your elderly’s needs. 

Assistive Seating

Choose an electric or self-powered elevating seat, that gently leans your elderly into a standing posture to provide a gentle lift moving out of a chair. These seats, which may be installed on a sofa or armchair and are comforting for hours of sitting, are frequently encased in thick memory foam. Purchasing a lifting seat or other common assistance equipment might help maintain your elderly loved ones comfy in their household.

Hoyer Lifts

Hoyer lifts, in their simplest form, are devices designed to help people manually or electrically stand up from a lying down posture, like that in a tub or bed. These gadgets often remain stationary next to your elderly loved one’s favourite chair and assist them in rising to a standing posture. Some offer automated lifting, while others require them to physically pump the handles to raise themselves.

Modify Your Homes Towards Comfort and Safety

Consider looking at retirement communities like Retire Genie if such home modifications are insufficient to allow your elderly to live comfortably. The kind of care they will receive in assisted living in Singapore, where support with all everyday activities is provided as needed as normal, cannot be matched by technology. Although for seniors who do choose to remain in their homes, such changes make it a practical and comfortable alternative.

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