Safe Home Improvements for Aging Parents

April 17th, 2013 1 Comment

As your parents retire and begin to deal with the health challenges that come with age, you may find yourself pondering: “what would I do if something happened and mom or dad couldn’t live at home on their own anymore?” Do you have the extra space to have your parents live with you? Would it be an emotional and financial burden to move them into a senior care facility? How do they want to spend their golden years?

According to a recent study conducted by AARP, nearly all older homeowners surveyed want to stay in their own home for as long as they can. Along with home care NJ, you can help make your parents’ wish to stay at home a safe reality by making the following home improvements:

Update Light Fixtures

A recent article on WLOS.com notes research that shows by age 60, a person needs as much as 15 times more light to see things clearly than they did at age 10. To help your parents get around the house safely, update all light fixtures throughout their home. Replace fixtures with more bulbs or higher wattage capacity. Add wall sconces to light dark corners on the stairs or in the hallway. Get hallway night lights to illuminate the hallway without the glare of bright overhead lighting for late-night bathroom trips.

Install a Security System

Protect your parents from being the target of burglars and install an easy-to-use alarm system. Many systems don’t require professional installation and can be installed with a few basic tools in an hour or two. Find reviews of home security systems online to find which ones are most user-friendly for elderly homeowners. Whichever system you choose, be sure to place the security stickers and signs in prominent places around your parents’ home. Often just seeing evidence of an alarm system is enough to scare burglars off.

Remodel the First-Floor Bathroom

Give your parents’ first-floor bathroom a makeover. As your mom and dad lose some of their mobility, this will be the main bathroom that they use. Make sure it’s outfitted with all of the safety features necessary to prevent a fall and serious injury. Replace that outdated bathtub-shower combination with a handicap-accessible curbless shower that has a built-in bench. Place a non-skid mat in the shower for extra traction. Add a handheld shower head and grab bars inside and outside of the shower. Install grab bars near the toilet as well to provide extra assistance while getting up from the seated position.

Swap Out Door Knobs for Levers

Traditional door knobs can be difficult to use for seniors with arthritis in their hands or limited mobility. As a solution, replace knobs with levered door handles for easier operation.

Replace High-Maintenance Landscaping

For gardeners who adore their lush landscaping, but no longer have the energy to plant and weed the flower beds, eliminating high-maintenance landscaping may be necessary. Instead, plant low-maintenance greenery such as:

  • Boxwood
  • Dwarf Japanese garden juniper
  • Climbing hydrangea
  • Cinquefoil
  • Bird’s nest spruce
by Scott Michaels, Guest Author


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