24 December 2019
Home Alterations as You Grow Older
As you or a loved one grows older, when house decoration or renovations are considered, it might be best to plan for the future, as well as the ‘right now’. While you might be tempted to fuss over a change of paint colour or some new cabinet doors, it’s also important to focus on the more practical aspects of a home renovation, so that you can remain comfortable in your home for years to come.
On average, people tend to renovate or revamp their house every 15-20 years, so if you’re 70 years old now for example, you may want to prepare for any kinds of home alterations you can foresee you might need for this length of time. Although you might not need it right now, if you only renovate infrequently, it’s best to get it out of the way for when you do. Here, we go through some of the best home alterations for your kitchen and bathroom – both big and small – you can put into place now, or consider for your next renovation project.
If you are planning a full kitchen renovation, installing lowered worktops can be a great idea for if you or a loved one may need easier access for a walking or wheelchair in coming years. If this option is too permanent, a moveable island can be utilised in the middle of your kitchen. This can have a lowered height, but due to it being on wheels, it can also be moved around to widen alleys and make way for walking aids. A moveable island is also less expensive than the installation of a permanent one.
A simple switch when planning renovations is to opt for pull out drawers rather than traditional shelves in cupboards. These can assist people with mobility issues, as they don’t require bending down to reach ingredients and crockery. They also make no impact on the design elements on a kitchen, so are a great, forward thinking option if you’re considering renovating anyway.
Lack of visibility around the home at night can be a problem for an elderly person with sight issues. This is most prevalent when needing to do things like use the toilet in the middle of the night – darkness can be very disorientating and unpleasant and might be a falling hazard. This is a simple fix; install night lights all around the house in order to aid your relative when they wake in the night. There are eco-saving options that operate with a motion sensor, and turn on when they detect movement, meaning their sleep won’t be affected.
In the bathroom, there’s a higher risk of slipping, falling and accidents in general. There are quite a few relatively cheap and simple to install alterations that can help the process of going to the toilet and washing much easier and less dangerous.
One of the biggest renovations is the installation of walk in showers. Many older properties have a bath or a shower above the bath, which means stepping over a ledge is necessary when getting in and out – something that becomes more difficult with age. Changing this out for a roomy walk in shower can be much easier for a loved one if they develop simple mobility issues.
Higher level ‘comfort seats’ on toilets can also be installed, so that the drop is less severe. This, again, can be useful for people with mobility or knee issues. Grab bars are also a useful, inexpensive tool to dot around – not just the bathroom – but throughout the entire house. Place them in areas where your relative may feel less steady and need something to hold onto, where there isn’t much available seating nearby.
Finally, investing in a suction mat for inside the shower/bath, and on the bathroom flooring, is a great, simple idea to help prevent slipping and falling, that doesn’t require difficult installation. Non-slip mats can also be placed under rugs around the rest of the house, too.
Other tips to keep your home comfortable:
- Ensure your house is well lit
- Make use of key safes and video entry phones, to make answering the door easy
- Look into installing a banister rail or stairlift
- Incorporating colour contrast into your décor so that it becomes easier to see things, for example, a colour contrast between the hob and worktop
- Specialised smoke alarms and phones can be extremely useful for sight impaired people
If it becomes clear that a loved one can no longer safely remain in their own home or they want the freedom to have less worries, making the move to a care home can be a great option. If you’d like to explore the benefits of a Hallmark care home, simply get in touch with us.