As we get older, it is normal for our mobility to decrease. Suddenly, the things that we use to do quite easily are almost impossible. We can’t get off the floor as we could decades ago or even step into a bathtub safely. This decreased mobility can make it difficult to safely live in our homes. If you have older relatives or parents who are beginning to experience decreased mobility, it can be especially worrisome. You might worry that they will fall or injure themselves. There are whole industries centered on helping seniors stay safe in their homes. But, prevention is the best medicine. By performing a few key accessibility modifications to your home, you can prevent a fall or injury from ever occurring. Here are a couple of projects to get you started:

Add more lighting

When we think of accessibility, we often think of shower chairs and ramps, but lighting is possibly the most efficient, easiest, and affordable upgrade you can make to a senior’s home. As we age, we often require more light to see than we did when we were younger. According to Aging Care, impaired vision is one of most common causes of falls around the home. After all, it is very hard to walk without tripping if you cannot see where you are going.
Your first step, then, should be to update the lighting around your house. Sometimes, this can be done simply by changing the light bulbs. Certain light bulbs are brighter than others, and switching out all the light bulbs in the house can be a huge improvement to the lighting quality. Other times, you might have to add more light fixtures. Depending on the set up of the house, you might be able to get away with only adding a couple of lamps. Overhead light might be necessary, however, it will require you to hire an electrician to install. Don’t forget to add lighting to the hallways and stairwells.

Redesign your Kitchen

Kitchens are usually the hardest place for those in older population to use safely. Kitchens are usually designed for taller people and require quite a bit of reaching. Cabinets might be too high, which can cause a senior to reach too high and injure themselves. Stoves with hard-to-reach controls can result in burns and falls. Flooring can easily become slippery. All of these things will need to be addressed by elders who are seeking to stay in their home for as long as possible. Cooking is a necessary ability to live safely and healthfully in your home. Upgrading your kitchen is necessary to age in place successfully.
While this might be an expensive upgrade, you should remember that making your home accessible can often increase its value in the long-run. For example, accessible homes in West Palm Beach, FL typically sell for $259K. Of course, not all modifications will increase the value of your home. According to Home City, your location plays a large role in whether your accessibility modifications will hinder or enhance your home’s value. On the flip side, you can always move to an accessible home if upgrading your home is not an option. Make sure to use the correct online filters to identify homes that interest you and use a detailed checklist to make sure they have all the accessibility features you need.

Add Handrails

Falling is usually the biggest concern for those hoping to age in place. Luckily, along with added lighting, handrails can do a lot to prevent falls and injuries. If a senior can hold themselves up using a handrail when they trip or grip onto one to help them balance, they are at a decreased chance of falling while moving about their home. Handrails can be added along stairs, in bathrooms, and even inside your shower. Plus, handrails are very inexpensive and easy to install.

Aging in place does not have to be scary or worrisome. With a few simple upgrades, you can turn your home into a livable, safe place for you or your loved one to grow old. Start with the projects we included in this guide, but feel free to branch out as you discover other accessibility needs.Author: Kent Elliot | |

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