As is the case with all developed countries, Australia has many aged communities which offer housing and care for the elderly who can’t live alone and take care of themselves anymore. However, an increasing number of people make the decision to stay in their own home instead, regardless of their age or any health issues they may have because of it. In such cases, one of the things that can enable these people to stay in their home is to do some renovating and adjust their living space to fit their needs. Here are some of these renovations and how to go about them.
Redesign the stairs
As many elderly people have difficulty moving around, especially climbing up and downstairs, this is probably one of the first things you should deal with when it comes to renovating your home.
If the staircase consists only of a few steps, adding a ramp and installing a handhold next to it will most likely do the trick, but if you live in a two-floor home, whether it’s a house or an apartment building, you should think about installing an elevator instead. If there’s enough space for a standard elevator, great, but if not, there are still some good solutions to the problem. For instance, stair lifts come in several versions you can opt for, so do some research and figure out which exact type of elevator will suit your home and your needs best.
Relocate some of the rooms
If an elevator isn’t really an option and you don’t want your aging parents using the stairs too much, another option is to relocate some of the rooms they use most often. First of all, the master bedroom should be on the ground floor, so that it’s more easily accessible. Similarly, there could be a problem with the laundry room.
In most houses, it’s located in the basement, which would mean that your parents would not only have to climb up and down the stairs whenever they want to do laundry but that they would have to do it while carrying full and often heavy laundry baskets. Relocating the laundry room, so that it’s on the same floor as the kitchen and the master bedroom, can lower the chances of injury due to falling down the stairs, so strongly consider making this change a priority. On the other hand, the upstairs rooms can be turned into guest rooms for you, your siblings and your children, as well as for a caregiver, in case one is needed.
Make moving around safer
If the elderly person’s mobility is impaired, or they have problems with their vision, it’s important to make some changes around their home, so that they can move around without falling down or bumping into things. For instance, you can start with rearranging the furniture to create more moving space, and if something is in the way, rather get rid of it than have it cause a serious injury. If you notice that the person is leaning on furniture to maintain balance as they walk, find a way to fixate those pieces of furniture and attach them to the wall, so that they remain in their place, despite the added weight. Also, adding handrails in the corridors and the bathroom is something that you should definitely do. Australians rely on Sydney commercial carpentry for jobs like this one, since wooden handrails are safe and also decorative so that they don’t disrupt the décor style of the entire home. Also, the floors should all be smooth and level, and perhaps you should avoid carpets or anything else that could cause the person to trip and fall. This should also apply for the bathroom, where you should remove the bathtub and install a simple walk-in shower since it’s easy to enter and exit.
Invest in automatic lights
As mentioned above, decreased mobility isn’t the only issue for the elderly. Vision impairment can cause just as much trouble and should be dealt with as soon as there’s any indication of it. One way to help people with vision problems is to install more lighting fixtures around the house and to make all the lights automatic.
They can either have a timer, which will allow them to be switched on and off in accordance with the routine of the elderly person living there, or they can be controlled using a phone or another device. Perhaps, instead of a phone, it could be a tablet, since small icons can be somewhat problematic to navigate. This way the person won’t have to roam around in the dark, looking for the light switch, which could lead to them getting hurt. And while installing the smartphone-operated lights, you can also do the same with temperature regulation an even door locks, which can simplify things to a great extent for the elderly.
If your aging parents, or even you personally, want to spend your old age at home, then, by all means, do so. However, go through these suggestions and make some changes in your home design, so that you can live a safer and more carefree life, even if you live alone.