Staying at home, despite mobility difficulties, is important to many seniors. If you are senior that has made the decision to remain independent in your own home, in lieu of moving to an assisted living facility, these home renovation projects will be helpful. The best way to feel comfortable and safe in your house is to prepare it for easy mobility and optimal safety.
Place everything at arm?s reach
Being confined to a wheelchair can be difficult when you live alone. You might find it difficult to reach items on the top shelve or above your arm?s reach. You might also find it impossible to retrieve items in cupboards at your feet level. Prepare your home for easy access by moving everything you might need within arm?s reach. Do this in every room, so you can still cook and prepare food, handle bathroom tasks, and always have entertainment at your fingertips. This can also increase safety, as you won?t be encouraged to consistently stand and reach for far away items.
Invest in an electric wheelchair
Even if you prefer a traditional wheelchair when away from the house, an electric wheelchair can be beneficial when in the house. There are times that you will feel tired and will not want to use the manual wheelchair, such as in the middle of the night. An electric wheelchair can also be a good backup for an emergency. If you suffer a fall and can get back into your chair, you can operate the chair to a phone to call for help.
Automate everything that you can
You will also find it helpful to automate the things in your house. Install door openers for all exterior and interior doors. When you are confined to a wheelchair, it can be difficult to hold the door open and move throughout the doors. Even getting from the bedroom to the bathroom with opening and closing doors can be difficult. With approximately 53 million Americans living with a disability, and according to a recent study, the most common disability is associated with limited mobility, it is important to make your house easy to navigate.
Automation should also be a part of the vehicle process, if possible. If you are still driving, you will want a vehicle that has the ability for power lift chairs and the ability to open the garage door automatically. Don?t forget to install wheelchair ramps on the vehicle, so you can easily get in and out of it. Wheelchair ramps leading into the house are also important. According to HomeAdvisor?s 2016 Aging in Place Report, home service professionals say the top aging in place projects they have been hired to do include installing grab bars (71%) and adding entryway wheelchair ramps (54%).
Install chair lifts for home
Installing power lift chairs in the home can help you navigate between each floor in the house. If you have twisting stairs, you will want a curved stair lift. Power lift chairs are actually affordable and give you freedom throughout your house. While some seniors attempt to move everything they need onto the main floor of the house, this is not always possible. The best solution is to try to have everything on one floor, but then also have power lift chairs to get up and downstairs, when needed.
According to AARP and the National Conference of State Legislatures, 90% of people over the age of 65 want to live in their home as long as they can. An increased amount of seniors are making the decision to stay independent in their homes. This is a possibility, as long as the necessary accommodations and renovations are made to make the house comfortable and safe.