According to the Population Reference Bureau, in 2017, Baby Boomers are between ages 53 and 71 and the number of Americans ages 65 and older is projected to more than double from 46 million today to over 98 million in 2060! As North Americans’ life spans lengthen, so do their desires to age in place, which translates to seniors staying in their homes with modifications to keep them safe and comfortable.
Helpful Home Modifications
Mr. Handyman specializes in professional home repairs, maintenance and improvement projects and we outlined some challenging, which come along with aging, and some practical solutions to help improve vision, prevent potential falls and make a home more accessible:
1. As most people over 40 will attest, the first signs of aging kick in with weakening muscles in our eyes while the lens turns more and more yellow. Yellow is difficult to see!
Solution: Installing white or blue light at 600 lumens or higher improves vision. Direct and indirect lights in functional areas such as kitchens, bathrooms and home offices make a tremendous difference!
2. As we get older, perceiving depth gets more difficult. This can create a dangerous environment when climbing stairs.
Solution: Adding delineation with a landing pad at the top and bottom of a staircase is incredibly helpful.
3. Climbing stairs takes more effort and support than ever before.
Solution: To support the weight of a person using the railing for leverage, railing and banisters must be re-enforced.
4. Walls and floors that are the same color need delineation to make the area easier for seniors to navigate.
Solution: Paint the walls a different color to make it easier to determine where the floor and walls begin and end.
5. Walking on floors with improperly covered feet can be a slip hazard. A person with diabetes can have an especially challenging time as their sense of touch in their feet lessens over time.
Solution: Adding a floor covering with a defined border on top of slippery stone can reduce falls. Other options include naturally slip-resistant slate, softer bamboo and antimicrobial vinyl, which is used in many commercial environments.
6. Turning a doorknob can be difficult while carrying a bag of groceries or a laundry basket.
Solution: Install lever door handles, which are easy to open with an elbow.
7. Accessing kitchen appliances with limited mobility increases the chances of dropping items, getting burned and straining while removing items from up high.
Solution: A French-door refrigerator makes it easier to lift items from the bottom freezer rather than risk dropping from a tall shelf. Moving a microwave from above the stove to under the cabinets reduces risk. Having a landing pad for hot items also helps protect homeowners.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration on Aging also offers a fact sheet and links to several resources on this topic.
Research by the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that home modifications and repairs may prevent 30% to 50% of all home accidents among seniors, including falls that take place in older homes.
“When we send our techs out to do work for a senior citizen, I tell them they just might be changing someone’s life with that project,” said Dennis McGee, owner of Mr. Handyman serving Ocala to West Apopka. “A lever handle or a grab bar can do a lot to prevent a fall and help a person stay in their home.”
Contact your local Mr Handyman or call us at (877) 256-3376 to help with all your home improvement needs.