Improving Home Accessibility

While moving into an assisted living facility, or in with family, may be required at some point in our lives, we’d all prefer to stay in our homes for as long as possible. With that in mind, everyone needs to consider what their home will need as they age.

As we age, we tend to shuffle along more. We don’t stride forward, we slide forward. Deep carpeting, throw rugs and flooring transitions become trip hazards; and falls are a major cause of injuries for the aging. Solid surface flooring is preferable, as there is less to trip over and it is easier to slide our feet forward on these surfaces.

If you, or a loved one, requires the assistance of a walker or wheelchair, then a step up at entrances to the home can look like a mountain. Threshold ramps are a ready-made solution for this situation.

After measuring the height difference between the threshold of the entrance and the ground level (sidewalk, or garage floor), you’ll want a ramp equal in feet to the number of inches of height difference. So, a 4-inch step up requires a 4-foot ramp. This gradual incline will be comfortable to folks with walkers, wheelchairs, or just shuffling along.

Anyone that would benefit from threshold ramps will also benefit from stability bars. This means a railing anywhere there are steps. It also includes grab bars in the bathrooms. These are generally installed by the toilets for a bit of help getting up and down, by the tub/shower for something to hold when stepping in and out, and in the tub/shower for transitioning from sitting to standing.

Things seem darker as we age and we need brighter bulbs as our eye strength weakens. Higher wattage bulbs generate more heat, and at some point we reach the max wattage of our fixtures. Traditional incandescent bulbs also cast a yellow wavelength light, which is not ideal for reading or detail work. Newer LED lighting doesn’t generate the same heat and can be purchased in other color wavelengths – including ‘cool white’ and ‘outdoors’ – which will help with reading and detail work.

Rather than reaching the point where you need many home upgrades at once, consider what investments you can make along the way over the coming years.

Hopefully, you are blessed to be aging with somebody. A partner in life. Few of us accept that we are getting older, or will need these changes to our home, but we see our loved ones needing a bit of help. Do these upgrades for each other; so that you may stay safely in your home together as long as possible.