At the age of 80, my grandmother still lives in her own home, by herself. She is a senior who lives independently, although I live 100 feet from her back door. My family has taken steps to ensure her safety and comfort around her own home. Here are a few of the home improvement projects that can make the homes of seniors who live alone more comfortable and safe.
My father installed handrails on my grandmother’s bathtub to make it easier for her to get in and out of the shower. These can be purchased from any local home improvement store and are simple to install. Handrails can also be installed around toilets, steps and beds to make getting up and down easier.
Higher toilet seats are easier for seniors to get up and down on and can be installed easily. These seats are padded and a few inches deep to raise the level of the seat. Coupled with handrails, these seats improve the safety and comfort for seniors.
Lever Handles on Faucets and Doors
A regular knob on a door or even a faucet can be difficult to maneuver for hands that suffer from arthritis. Changing out knobs for easy-turn levers can make a simple action simple again.
Motion sensors can be added to room lights to keep a senior from needing to enter a dark room. Most motion sensors are easily installed and can be set to turn on when movement is detected within a certain radius, then stay on for four minutes or more.
Pull-Out Wire Baskets In Cabinets
Most home improvements stores have kits to install pull out wire baskets in cabinets. These baskets can be pulled out to make reaching the contents much easier without requiring as much bending. Pull out garbage cans can also be installed as well as rotating turntables to make reaching smaller items such as spices easier.
There are other small improvements that can be made to help a senior citizen continue living independently. For my grandmother, we installed cordless phones with multiple handsets so she could keep one close at all times.
We also removed throw rugs to keep Grandma from tripping over them. Because Grandma’s eyesight is failing as well as her memory, we installed a programmable thermostat that we could set and she would not need to deal with it.
Rocker switches for lights are also a good choice because they are easier to maneuver and turn off and on.
A few simple home improvements can make a senior’s home more livable for a longer period and allow the senior to retain their sense of independence while helping family members feel assured they are safe in their own home.