In this article, we will explore some common projects of home improvement for seniors, including senior home repairs to improve accessibility, safety, and convenience. Whether you are planning renovations for yourself or for an aging loved one, these ideas can help you create a home that is comfortable, functional, and suitable for the needs of an older adult.
As we age, our needs and abilities can change, and it may become necessary to make certain adjustments to our homes in order to maintain independence and quality of life. Home renovations for old age can help seniors stay safe and comfortable in their own homes for longer, and can also provide peace of mind for family members and caregivers.
How You Want To Live In The Old Age
Sooner or later, the time comes for everyone to think about how to live in old age. However, it’s always better to think sooner rather than later. In particular, this aspect must be kept in mind right from the purchase of the house. Thinking about when the children will leave home and you have to live alone or with your partner in a house that is too large.
You may not want to sell and move to a smaller house or apartment due to various reasons:
- You prefer to work until you retire
- Staying close to your friends in the neighborhood
- You are well-integrated into the community
There are three interesting possibilities:
1. Stay in your own home and take advantage of the extra space, for example as an office, studio, or music room. If this is the best choice, it is good to plan to have a large house, perhaps with a garden.
2. Turn a floor into an apartment and rent it out. You will thus receive rent as a contribution to the costs of the house and you will not have to work hard to clean too large a space.
3. Transforming the single-family home into a multigenerational home for the whole family. This way, the costs of the house are reduced, there is less unused space and the grandchildren grow up close to their grandparents.
Regardless of variant 1, 2, or 3, sooner or later the house should be adapted to age or, as a first step, designed so that it is barrier-free. These early measures for coping with life in old age are relatively simple and inexpensive.
Barrier-Free Home Improvement For Seniors
Renovating The Whole House
It is important to ensure that all living areas in your home are well-lit, including secondary rooms such as cellars and stairs. Motion detectors can be adjusted to have longer light intervals, so it is not necessary to constantly switch the lights on and off. To improve safety, it is important to remove any obstacles that could cause trippings, such as small furniture, plants, or piles of books.
Handrails should be installed on all stairs to provide a secure hold. All edges of the steps should be clearly indicated and made to contrast with the surrounding area. To prevent slips and falls, make sure that all steps are non-slip, even when wet or damp. Consider adding non-slip mats or high-quality carpet tape to floors.
If you live alone or are frequently home alone, an emergency system may also be a good idea for added safety. These renovations and design measures can help seniors maintain independence and safety in their homes.
Best Size – Home Remodeling For Seniors
The best size depends on your needs and those of your partner. We all grow old and frail, some more, some less. Vision deteriorates, mobility decreases, and a simple fall can radically change your life and severely limit you. The greater the risk of falling, for example, the more sensible the construction measures for planning for life in old age.
To ensure accessibility for all, it is important to make sure that doorways, passageways, and stairways are free of steps and thresholds. If this is not possible, ramps should be installed. Doorways should also be at least 80cm wide to accommodate wheelchairs and pushchairs.
Outdoor or garage parking should be easily accessible and preferably covered, with the option for wheelchair access. Stairs should be wide enough to accommodate a stairlift if needed. It is also important to have lamps installed throughout the home and to use bulbs with higher lumens, as vision tends to decrease with age.
Living Room – Home Renovations For Seniors
It is important to ensure that chairs and sofas are the appropriate height for you to easily get in and out of. If not, you may want to consider adding extra padding to increase the height. The living room should be furnished with stable pieces of furniture that can be used for support if needed.
Furniture with wheels should be avoided, as it can be unstable and potentially dangerous if you need to use it for support. To prevent tripping, all cables should be tied up and routed along the walls.
In the bedroom, the bed should be at a suitable height for easy entry and exit. If necessary, you can add extra padding to increase the height. Lampshades can be installed to provide easily accessible lighting at night. Barrier-free renovations and design measures, such as these, can help seniors maintain independence and safety in their homes.
Remodel Bathroom – Senior Home Repairs
In the bathroom, there are several renovations that can be made to improve safety and accessibility. Grab bars or a fixed bath board can be installed to make it easier to get in and out of the tub. If the bathtub is too large, a bathtub shortener can be installed to prevent slipping into the bottom.
Non-slip pads or mats should be placed in the bath or shower to prevent falls. A step stool or a wall-mounted shower seat can also be added to allow you to shower while sitting down.
In the toilet, handles can be fitted and a seat cover installed to make it easier to sit down and stand up. To prevent slipping, you can add non-slip stickers or a non-slip mat under bathroom rugs.
In the kitchen, it is important to secure pans, cooking utensils, and groceries at an accessible height to avoid having to bend over or climb on a stool every time. Barrier-free renovations and design measures like these can help seniors maintain independence and safety in their homes.
A shower is more practical than a bathtub, especially if you are in a wheelchair or need a walker. Access to the shower must therefore be flat – and the shower floor must be non-slip. A seat fixed to the wall is practical.
If you prefer a bathtub, install grab bars and supports, or even better, an in-and-out aid. The bathroom floor should be non-slip and the tub shouldn’t be too long.
Think of enough space and freedom of movement for yourself and a second person in case you need help with personal hygiene. Replace the furniture with space-saving furniture. Avoid placing furniture under the sink to avoid bending over.
Replace any slippery tiles or concrete flooring with non-slip flooring. Fit handles and brackets near the shower, toilet bowl, and sink. Unfortunately, many elderly people fall in the bathroom, so it’s better to abound.
Renovating Kitchen – Elderly Home Remodel
To make the kitchen more practical and accessible, consider installing cabinets with pull-out drawers rather than doors. It is also more convenient to have the stove, worktop, and sink on the same level, rather than separated by a kitchen island. Appliances such as ovens and steamers should be installed at a comfortable height to avoid the need to bend or stretch.
To prevent accidents, be sure to secure appliances and household machines with non-slip mats. A smoke alarm should also be installed for added safety. These renovations and design measures can help seniors maintain independence and safety in the kitchen.