If you’re thinking about your future, or if you regularly accommodate older family and friends, you might want to consider changing things up so that your home is more suitable and enjoyed by all ages. Not everybody can design their entire house around their needs or the needs of their family, but there are some great design tweaks that anybody can use to make their home as comfortable, safe and accessible for everybody, no matter their age.
Get Rid of Knobs, Go for Levers
Doorknobs and even certain taps can be pretty painful for arthritic hands and fingers. The gripping process can take frustratingly long if you have stiff joints, so one of the best ways to make your home more accessible and pain-free is to install levers instead of knobs. These allow you to turn on a tap or open a door with one clean movement, perfect for everybody from a young child to an older adult.
Slipping and falling isn’t just dangerous for older people, it can damage anybody. Slippery surfaces are often the main culprit, so all floors should have some slip resistance in them. You can add mats under rugs so they don’t slip (or tape rugs down) and try to use carpets that are short and not shaggy. If you have trip points in your house, like one or two steps between rooms, consider replacing them with small ramps.
Having a nice hot bath must be one of life’s most relaxing offerings, so you want to make sure that everybody can enjoy them. That’s when walk-in baths come in handy. These are designed for those with limited mobility and involve walking into the bath and sitting down while it quickly fills around you. The price range for walk in baths can vary from reasonable to very expensive, depending on the features you want. It’s not uncommon to have Jacuzzi jets in a walk-in bath as they also serve the benefit of massaging aching joints and muscles.
Dim lights can be really frustrating for anybody making their way through different rooms, but because of the higher risk related to falls in the elderly, dim lights can be more than just frustrating. Make sure every hallway, doorway and room has good lighting, and if you personally prefer dimmer atmospheres, maybe consider a dimmer switch so those using the room or entryway have a choice.
Handrails or More
If you have more than one level in your home, you should consider installing handrails on both sides of the staircase. Again, lighting on stairs is pretty important as well, so make sure each step is uniformly lit. This can help prevent falls. If you’re worried about mobility issues, you can also install a stair lift to carry people up or down staircases. These can reduce the falling risk attached to staircases to nil, and are both highly safe and practical. If that’s not a possibility, making sure that each step is clearly defined with neon tape, or some other marking to show the edge of a tread, can greatly reduce the risk of falls.