There comes a time when most people have to think about a care home for their elderly loved one. This is because independent living becomes a challenge for many as they age due to the risk of falling and illnesses. Before you start planning to put somebody into a care home, consider how you can modify their house so they can continue to live independently for years to come.

With a few changes, your loved one can enjoy more autonomy and reduce the risk of bad things happening when they live alone. The house is usually a barrier to independent living since it wasn’t designed for people with mobility issues. When the house is updated and modified then some of those barriers are removed and people can continue to live on their own. In this article, we will go over what modifications are necessary for an elderly person to age in place.

1 - The bathroom

The biggest danger to an elderly person is a fall at home. Not only could they be there alone and unable to call for help, but the healing process from a fall injury is long. It usually signals the end of their independence. This is why it’s so important to remove the dangerous factors in the house to reduce the risk of a fall.

The bathroom is where a fall is most likely to happen and should be the first place where modifications are made. It is a wet and slippery environment that poses a big threat to somebody with some mobility issues.

The first thing to do is replace the tub with one that is easier to get in and out of. There are walk-in tubs with a door so there is no need to have to step over the side of the tub. They can walk in and then sit down on a built-in seat and wash without the risk of falling.

Toilets are also a big risk since wiping up involves having to contort themselves. This means that they can injure themselves or even fall off of the toilet. Personal hygiene is usually missed because of this risk and discomfort. To get up from the toilet ADA compliant grab bars should be installed so they don’t strain themselves.

A bidet for the elderly is a good option since it is attached to the toilet seat. A jet of water is sprayed so they can clean themselves without needing to use their hands. Some models even have a warm air dryer so drying off is also hands-free.

2 - Embrace technology

There are a lot of technological advances that have happened over the last few years that make it much easier to run a household. Although some seniors are reluctant to embrace technology, if they do they will have an easier time staying independent.

For instance, there are smart thermostats that will allow them to take control of their energy usage without having to do anything themselves. They use AI to create optimal settings for energy savings. They use sensors to understand which rooms are used most often and at what times and direct the heat to those areas at those times and keep the other areas of the house cooler.

This means that the senior citizen doesn’t have to understand how to create those settings themselves and will have lower bills.

Security is also easier now thanks to technology. Doorbell cameras will detect motion and send an alert to a smartphone so you can see in real-time what is happening outside the door. They can avoid opening the door for a stranger this way, or see that there is a delivery. You can monitor the camera along with your loved ones to be sure they are safe.

3 - Open up the space

Furniture is sometimes an obstacle that can cause a fall. If the rooms are too full of small tables or chairs and there isn’t a clear path to go from one room to another then these need to be removed.

There should be enough space to pass with a walker even if they don’t have one yet. Rails on the walls will allow them to walk through while still keeping their balance. Rearrange the furniture in a way that gives them plenty of options for sitting but also clears a path.

If you have a deep carpet then putting a plastic cover over it on the pathways will help them walk with a walker over it.