Ways to Make a Home More Accessible for the Elderly

It’s inevitable, that we are all going to get older and many of the things that seemed simple before will start to get a little more difficult as we age . Many homeowners and elderly people can face many difficult obstacles around the home like going up and down the stairs, narrow hallways, narrow doorways, and may also have issues in the bathroom. Whether it’s a limitation that you are facing in your home or maybe it’s in a family member’s home, there are many solutions to every problem which can be solved by simply making your home more accessible. Some elderly may be living independently on their own so safety can be a concern. There can be hidden risks around the home such as slippery floors, poor lighting, clutter, and the stairs. As we grow older, we may start experiencing mobility challenges around the home by walking up a staircase, showering, going to the toilet, and even going to bed. Ageing in Place and making your home safer for independent living is becoming a popular trend in Ireland . One of the more commonly i that the ideal solution to ensure safety, enable independent living, and make your home more comfortable to live in. So let’s take a look at ways to transform your home and make it more accessible. 

Have a stairlift installed for the staircase

The most convenient adaptation for the elderly would be a stairlift. Whether you have a straight or a curved staircase, a stairlift can be installed to suit your needs and the décor of your home. Stairlifts come in various different brands and styles and can be installed permanently into a home to make it more accessible for those with limited mobility. Many elderly people may need to walk up and down stairs several times a day to use the bathroom or even the bedroom and it can become frustrating due to mobility issues. A stairlift can eliminate all of this and even prevent an accident from happening. So rather than walking up and downstairs, you can sit onto a seat and the stairlift will take you the whole way up and back down again. It will make your home more comfortable, accessible, and create a safe and independent space. A stairlift can also be installed outside home also.

Types of stairlifts

  • Straight 
  • Curved  

Straight stairlifts are designed to fit a staircase that goes straight up with no bends or curves. It is attached to a rail and features a seat and a footrest ensuring complete mobility and comfort.  
Curved stairlifts must be designed and customised to suit your stairs. It is designed for stairs that has curves or bends going up.  

Install a wheelchair lift

Stairs are a hazard and especially with those who may need a wheelchair on a permanent basis. The change in levels is a big issue for wheelchair users. If you have steps going up into your home, it is essential to have a wheelchair lift installed. Wheelchair lifts are simple and elegantly designed to suit your home and needs. They are a motorised platform that is used to carry a wheelchair user over stairs to bring them up a level without having to use the steps. This device can be installed indoors and outdoors. 

Replace stairs with ramps

Even if your home is a bungalow, you are more than likely to have two or three steps leading up into the doorway of your house. Having a ramp built or placed outside your home will allow easy access, make wheelchair entry on the go, will provide reliable and safe access for wheelchairs and even other people entering your home. 

Add handrails throughout the home

For those prone to low mobility, poor balance, prone to falls, or just simply need some assistance with getting in and out of the bed or even bathroom areas, handrails will make a huge difference to an elderly person. They increase independence and will give peace of mind to the homeowner.

Add handrails around the toilet

For those with mobility issues, the toilet can become a little more difficult to use. Place handrails around the toilet on the wall which will give the user more balance as they go to sit down and stand up at the toilet. You could also install a safety frame in which they can also hold on to while maneuvering onto and off the toilet.  

Place handrails in key areas around the home like near the bed, near a chair, and in the hallway while they are walking around. All of this can make a massive difference and decrease the risk of a fall and also allow the user to lift themselves up and walk around more independently. 

Upgrade the bathroom

Accessible and safe bathrooms don’t just happen, you must tackle your bathroom and make your loved one feel more independent and secure at home.  

  • Add slip-resistant flooring throughout the shower and bathroom.  
  • Add vertical, u shaped or angle handrails around the bathroom in order for them to move around comfortably especially when getting out of a bath tub. Bath tubs can be extremely dangerous as the tub would be slippery and can cause an accident. 
  • Buy quality and sturdy non-slip math for the bath tub and for the shower.  
  • Add a folding down seat into the shower. Some come with padded seats and back for extra comfort.  
  • Add a raised toilet that is tall enough making it a lot easier to sit on the toilet. This is not that much of an issue however it can become helpful and it is an affordable option. You could also get a raised toilet seat and place it onto the toilet.  
  • Add a walk-in shower