Do you have an older parent living with you? Do elderly guests visit your home often? Do you plan on “aging in place” (aging in your home instead of moving to a senior care facility)? Then, you should take the initiative to make your house more senior-friendly.
What will help you accomplish that?
Make Stairs Safer
A steep, rickety staircase with no railings can pose a real danger for seniors. They could slip and fall down the stairs and severely injure themselves.
To guarantee that your staircases are senior-friendly, you should install secure railings on either side of the stairs. Add carpet treads or grip tape to the steps — this can prevent feet from slipping and sliding. And, of course, keep the steps clear of any mess. Don’t leave shoes, bags or dirty clothes there. Someone could trip on them.
Another way that you can make stairs a little safer for seniors is to get stair evacuation chairs. Stair evacuation chairs can help people with mobility issues during house fires, gas leaks and other types of emergencies that require immediate evacuations. Without a stair chair, a senior with mobility issues could get stuck on another floor, unable to escape the building, or they could try to rush down the stairs and injure themselves.
With a stair chair, someone can easily guide the senior up/down staircases and out of the building in the middle of an emergency. So, to make your house completely senior-friendly, you should look at these stair chairs for sale and get some for your staircases. You’ll want to have them nearby when disaster strikes.
Think about Temperature
Seniors are sensitive to extreme temperatures. In the summer months, when the weather is hot and humid, they’re vulnerable to heat stroke. To make sure that seniors don’t succumb to the sweltering weather, you should make sure that your HVAC system is in good working condition.
The same can be said for your heating during the fall and winter. Seniors are vulnerable to extreme cold and can get very sick if exposed to the frigid weather. You’ll want your home’s heating to be effective.
What else can you do to help with heating/cooling?
- Seal air leaks around windows, doors, lights and outlets.
- Add insulation to your walls and roofs.
- Create alternative heating/cooling methods, like installing ceiling fans and electric fireplaces.
Widen Your Doorways
Seniors will often need mobility aids like canes, walkers or wheelchairs to get around. You should widen the doorways of your home so that they can easily bring these mobility aids through. Tight, narrow spaces will make it hard for them to enter and travel through your home — or worse, it could cause unnecessary injury.
Change the Knobs
Many seniors develop joint trouble in their hands, which can make gripping and twisting knobs difficult and painful. To make your house more senior-friendly, switch out doorknobs and sink taps for handles/levers. Or, if you want to embrace technology, you can get touchless faucets for your sinks — these rely on sensors to turn them on.
Tax Credits for Renovations
These home improvements can help you come tax season. The federal government offers tax credits for accessible renovations with the Home Accessibility Tax Credit. Provincial governments also offer options, like the Seniors’ Home Safety Tax Credit. Take advantage of these credits when you file your returns.
These simple changes will make your house more senior-friendly — something you and your relatives will appreciate.