Tips and tricks for adapting your home for older age 

For those of us keen to stay independent as we age, it becomes increasingly important to ensure that the home is a safe environment.

The home is a happy place for many of us. But it should also be free of hazard and risk factors. As our eyesight and hearing fade and our memory becomes less effective, it only makes us more vulnerable to accidents. Those everyday tasks like cooking and walking up the stairs might become more difficult or even dangerous.

Introducing aids and adaptations around the house are the answer to retaining independence yet staying safe. Some of them are subtle objects that give a helping hand, while others might be significant changes to the house that make everyday tasks possible, safer and simpler.

Making minor adaptations 

Aids and adaptations aren’t just for disabled people. Anyone who has seen their physical strength and agility decline will benefit from supportive aids like:

  • Handrails and grab rails: whether you need help getting through the front door, or simply something to hold onto while showering, this will aid with stability and balance, preventing you from having a fall.
  • Lever taps: people living with arthritis or having problems with their grip will benefit from taps being altered to make them easier to turn. Doing the dishes and washing your hands can be as simple a task as it’s always been.
  • Bathing equipment: washing doesn’t have to be a dangerous or uncomfortable activity. Bath boards, pillows and slips mats prevent accidents and even help you enjoy the therapeutic side of washing.
Tips and tricks for adapting your home for older age 

Making major adaptations 

Often, permanent fixtures and fittings need to be installed to help an older person get by at home. If you become a wheelchair user, that of course means having to make alterations to the home which might be significant, but still feasible. Anyone struggling with mobility may also benefit from these changes:

  • Access ramps and wheelchair lifts: houses are rarely built with the needs of a wheelchair user in mind. A wheelchair specialist will consider the size of the equipment you use, as well as the size of the steps that you need help getting over, to help you go from room to room with ease.
  • Stair lifts: when travelling up and down the stairs becomes too difficult, moving into a bungalow isn’t the only option. There are reliable stair lift installation companies that can give you advice and make getting from one floor to another as easy as possible.
  • Tailor the fixtures: whether it’s widening doorways for wheelchair users, adding a downstairs toilet to reduce reliance on stairs or installing low level kitchen units, bigger changes to the home can make mobility easier.
Tips and tricks for adapting your home for older age 

Introducing assistive technology 

Beyond aids and adaptations, assistive technology, also known as telecare or telehealth, can maintain an older person’s safety in day-to-day life. When incorporated into a personal care plan, these technologies can make life safer for the individual, and give reassurance to their family and care team. They include:

  • Emergency bracelets/pendant: an older person can wear a smart but subtle device which they can use if they ever have a fall and need emergency assistance.
  • Door alarms: If somebody leaves their house, this can alert their loved ones or their care team. It gives that added reassurance to families who will know that their loved one is safe at home.
  • Pill dispensers: Technology that makes available the medication an older person requires, at the time it needs to be taken, can help somebody stay safe and well. It takes away the headache caused by having to remember which pills, how many and how often to take them.
Tips and tricks for adapting your home for older age 

More advice with adapting your home

The Disabled Living Foundation is a good place to start. It can provide you with impartial advice and support for anyone that needs daily living equipment for themselves or their loved ones.

Take a look on too, where you can apply to your local authority for some financial help. 

It’s refreshing watching your older relatives live independently. By helping them make some changes to their beloved home, you can help them stay living that life for longer. Enjoy even greater peace of mind with regular home care visits from one of our Care Professionals, from simple home help and housekeeping drop-ins to more involved activity or even at-home complex care support.