Preparing a home for a disabled or elderly family member can be challenging, and what needs to be done will depend on many factors. However, there are some pretty standard things you can do. With that said, below are four things you can do when the time comes to prepare a home for an elderly or disabled person.
1. Do things that will reduce the chances of a fall from happening. The fact is that elderly and disabled people, depending on the nature of their disability, are at risk of falling. In fact, every single year thousands and thousands of elderly experience a fall.
Do things such as remove rugs that are not safely installed on the floor in your home. Add a rubber bath mat to the shower or tub, and apply coatings that are slip-resistant to the floor of the shower or any floor where the elderly or disabled person may walk. Doing such things will greatly reduce the chances of an accidental fall from happening.
2. Replace furniture that isn't stable, such as rocking chairs, or flimsy plastic chairs because such furniture will pose a safety risk if an elderly or disabled person tries to steady themselves using them. Not only should you do that, but install grab bars for the shower and near the toilet, and don't forget about installing levered faucets. If you want to make it easier for the person, then consider installing a portable shower seat, but do make sure you adjust it to the right height. By doing this, the person using it will find showering easier and it will be much safer for them.
3. Widening hallways and doorways is a good idea too because this will make getting around the home easier on the elderly person or disabled person. Generally speaking, you want hallways to be wide enough for a wheelchair to fit or for a walker to be used and things of that nature. Don't forget about sidewalks too because you'll want to make sure walkways to the home are wide enough and safe enough for the occupants to use. You might also want to consider installing a ramp because this will make it easier for an elderly or disabled person to enter and exit the home.
4. Lighting is another important thing to consider when preparing a home for an elderly or disabled person. If a person has poor eyesight, then replacing existing bulbs with ones that are brighter is a smart move to make. Plus, newer light bulbs tend to be more energy-efficient, and they last a lot longer but do try to utilize natural light whenever you can. Also, consider installing a lighting system that can be controlled via a remote, as this will make turning lights on and off easier for the person.
Bringing more light into the home by opening or enlarging your windows can not only help a disabled or older person to see better, but can improve the view outside, and help with their mood and feelings of being less confined.
Sure, some of the things mentioned above can cost a little to do, and they also require doing some work. However, doing those things will improve the quality of life of the person living in the home. If you need to prepare a home for a disabled or elderly person, consider these tips as a starting point towards making your home a safer place to live.