Home is where the heart is; and if your home starts to look like a shack where hobos go to shoot-up some meth, then it’s probably time to consider refashioning the place.
However, what’s more important is to take into account the special needs of the individuals living under your roof. All things age; that’s just a universal truth but nothing hits harder than seeing our loved ones, our parents, age and become dependent on us.
It is incumbent upon us to provide them with the same ease and convenience that they worked so hard to provide us with when we were growing up. It is a small step towards the repayment of the ultimate debt, a return on the investment they made in us, their children.
The best way to make life manageable for them is to renovate your home in a manner befitting the needs of an elderly individual.
Accessory dwelling units
This is basically a dwelling within a dwelling. A structure within the primary abode or located next to it, that serves as living space for the elderly individuals in question.
ADU’s can be built on existing property if you have the right idea and the right professionals. A few likely areas to consider are an attractive cottage in the backyard, the basement which can be converted into a nice little apartment; provided that it is spacious enough, or the top of your garage where you can lay out a plan for a little house with a gabled roof.
There are quite a few aspects you should be aware of when constructing the unit.
Elderly people climb up and down stairs as easily as you or I can scale mount Everest; meaning once is an achievement, twice is an impossibility and on every try, you’re facing certain death.
Okay, perhaps that is a bit of an exaggeration, but is nevertheless very important that you design a floor plan that is level. If you cannot do without stairs, then the addition of sturdy handrails on both sides is an absolute must.
Install an ample amount of lights so as to illuminate the area as best as possible. Older people often have difficulty navigating dimly lit rooms and hallways.
Corners can especially tricky. You may think your hallway is wide enough until someone has to maneuver through that ninety degree bend while using their giant walker.
If the unit is dual storey, then you need to install an elevator because such a steep climb would be next to impossible.
Older people often have difficulty with seeing things that are all one color, so using contrasting colors or stripes will be a big help, especially on the flooring.
All appliances and electronics should be clearly labeled with large, bold letters and have their own designated places where they can be put back after use and therefore be easy to locate the next time around.
Tables on wheels or rolling tables instead of usual tables will be a big help as they can be easily moved around. wheel carts will also help them move stuff around without much ado.
Carpets and mats should be slip resistant and there should be handrails at decent intervals.
The kitchen should be roomy enough so that even if it is stacked top to bottom with utensils and cutlery, it can still be a manageable space.
The stoves could be a potential hazard, therefore implementing certain safety elements should be priority such as using stoves have auto ignition, downdraft features and level burners. The controls should be located at the front for easy access.
The countertops need to be at an optimum height so consider using height adjustable ones. That, along with pull-out shelves will be the best option.
First thing you need to be concerned about is slippery floors. That’s the quickest way to get a get a dislocated hip joint. Put in flooring that is not so slippery.
The second thing is optimum lighting. The bathroom should be more brightly than any other room in the house.
Install grab bars all along the bathroom walls at medium height which can be latched on to, in case of fatigue or a possible slip.
Lastly, the toilet seat needs to be a tiny bit higher than conventional toilet seats, for the sake of more ease.
Burglary is not the only issue where alarms can be of use. If an elderly individual under your care has to be alone for extended periods of time, it’s best to add a simple feature to their phone which they can use to send a distress signal if the situation arises.
Furthermore there should be automatic signals sent out in case of other potential hazards, such as if the stove has been left on too long or if the smoke alarm is going off.
Have professional set up the system so that there are no technical issues.