Preparing Your House to Accommodate Seniors with Limited Mobility

Written by Becky Wilcox

Mobility challenges are quite common among the elderly. If you are the primary caregiver for a senior family member who is experiencing this difficulty, it is critical that you do your best to help them cope with these limitations. One way is to make your home “elderly-friendly” for a safer and more accessible environment for aging adults.

Making upgrades/additions to your home to make it safe and secure for older folks can be as simple as installing handrails near the staircase. This senior home preparation guide focuses on simple investments for creating a haven. That said, it also recommends more substantial installations that can be worthwhile if your loved one ends up having long-term mobility issues.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Create a Comfortable Sitting Environment 

Sitting in a comfortable position can prove to be a challenge for mobility impaired seniors. The standard chairs present in most homes can take a toll on their back. On top of that, older folks may struggle to get back into a standing position without assistance. Fortunately, modern lift recliners and other similar options are allowing caregivers and homeowners to set up comfortable seating areas in their accommodations. Furniture pieces like these include all the latest features (dual motors, massage, heating, etc.) that allow for versatility in how users maneuver them. For example, they can achieve a fully reclined position as well as be positioned straight. Moreover, some of them are capable of helping seniors stand on their feet by giving them the boost they need to get comfortably up on their feet.

  1. Add Safety Features to Your Bathroom

Your bathroom is especially important to secure since water increases the risk of slip and fall injuries. Roll-in pathways, curtain equipped shower stalls, and seating are some viable options for the seniors in your home don’t use a wheelchair. Investments like these remove the need to step over a tub or ledge, significantly reducing the risk of falling. Another washroom safety measure is to replace one of your existing bathtubs with a walk-in model. That’ll give your mobility impaired loved one the safety and confidence they need to bathe on their own. Additionally, you can put pads and non-slip pads at the bottom to offer better traction inside. As for the bath sink, countertop versions are the most secure option for access and support. The can be adjusted in the same manner as the kitchen. For homeowners with a free-standing sink, it’s a good idea to install an “L” bracket in the wall stud to remove the risks associated with leaning on it.

  1. Reorganize the Kitchen

Incorporate at least one accessible workplace in the kitchen that seniors can access, be it a fold-down table or a small dining set. Just make sure it can bear a considerable amount of weight. The workspace should also be able to accommodate frequently used items. Ensure these are accessible throughout the kitchen, as reaching for things in high cabinets could lead to injuries. Also, controls should be present in front of the stove to prevent seniors needing to reach across burners. Additionally, appliances and cookware with sensory alerts – like kitchen appliances with both lights and sounds and whistling ovens – are must-haves for homes with older adults.

Make sure the elders with mobility issues always feel safe and welcome by taking note of the arrangements they need. Start by making these upgrades to make seniors appreciate your home as well as life in general.

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About LoveBeingRetired

Dave Bernard is a California born and raised author and blogger with an extensive 30 year career in Silicon Valley. He has written more than 300 blogs for US News & World On Retirement and his personal blog Retirement – Only the Beginning. He has authored three books: "Are you just existing and calling it a life?"; "I want to retire! Essential Considerations for the Retiree to Be"; and " Navigating the Retirement Jungle". Dave was also a contributing writer for the books 65 Things to do when you Retire (“Positive Aging – Old is the New Young”) as well as 65 Things to do when you Retire – TRAVEL (“Travel to Discover your Family Heritage”). He lives in sunny California with his wife, his Boston Terrier "Frank" and a passion for the San Jose Sharks.