Adapting your home for an elderly relative

Adapting your home for an elderly relative – words Alexa Wang

Whether your parents or grandparents are frequent visitors, or perhaps you could be part of the ‘sandwich generation’ and an older relative will soon be coming to live with you, it is important that they are able to move around your home as easily as possible.

This means finding ways to provide them with better access, but also taking steps to minimise risk and reduce the chance of injury or a fall. Luckily, there are many things you can do to adapt your home. While the adjustments you make will depend on your individual circumstances and the needs of the person in question, here are some ways you could consider adapting your home for elderly relatives.

 

Change the Layout

You may be able to move through your house easily, but if your elderly relative suffers with arthritis, has stiff joints, or struggles to get around, the layout could be causing a problem for them. These are major considerations when it comes to home modifications for seniors.

Simply rearranging furniture can make a big difference by creating larger walkways, removing potential obstacles, and ensuring there is enough space for them to use their walking aid. In addition, changing the layout could also minimise the risk of a fall.

However, if your elderly relative is a wheelchair user and will be moving into your home, you may also need to consider widening doors and walkways, adding ramps, lowering kitchen units, or installing a wet room, to allow access and manoeuvrability. This can be a much bigger and stressful task, but you may be able to access funding for adapting your home.

Install Grab Rails

In addition to altering the layout, there are many mobility aids that can be installed throughout your home, to help your elderly relative. Grab rails are just one example that can provide assistance.

For example, installing in the bathroom allows them to use the facilities in private and could help to prevent a fall on floors that are typically more slippery. Consider adding one next to the toilet, or if your relative stays for longer periods, install in the shower or next to the bath.

It may also be a good idea to install a second rail on the stairs, to provide additional support.

Invest in Disability Aids

You probably use tech all the time, from your phone to smart home gadgets. But did you realise there are also loads of gadgets and aids that can help elderly relatives? Specialists like Mobility Solutions stock a range of disability aids, which can make a real difference to elderly relatives.

For the kitchen, there are large grips for cutlery and adapted mugs. For the living room, there are padded lap trays and grippers. Or for travelling, there are removable hand rests to make it easier to get in and out of the car.

If you regularly invite your grandparents round for a cup of tea, spend a lot of time with your ageing parents, or are planning to move an elderly relative into your family home, hopefully these tips for home adaptations for elderly will help you to make changes. While the majority of these are small adjustments, they can make a big difference to elderly relatives in your home.

Adapting your home for an elderly relative – words Alexa Wang

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