Feeling a sense of comfort and satisfaction in your residence is always important and even more so where seniors are involved. Generally, retired seniors generally spend more time at home than those who are in the workforce. But seniors are also known for neglecting their homes, their energy levels and the skills needed to cope with home repairs and modifications. Those attributes are usually not up to the mark and seniors may endanger themselves by attempting it. An expense is also a concern for someone on a fixed income.
Sprucing up or restoring the level of comfort and safety of a home and increasing the homeowner’s satisfaction with their living quarters need not be daunting. Nor does it need to be a large expense and produce large headaches. Here are a few simple, efficient and effective home upgrades that can fit within a budget.
New paint makes nearly everything look clean and bright again, including the ceiling. Paint trim a contrasting color but keep wall colors light and bright to aid the senior in seeing well and reflect light better than deeper colors.
Light fixtures can be economical and changing them is usually not difficult. New lighting can give a room a new look and flood formerly dim, and potentially dangerous, areas with light. Eco friendly lights give the satisfaction of reducing carbon footprint and lowering the electricity bill. Use simple, easy-to-clean designs for lights in places where cleaning can be difficult or not done often. Place simple nightlights along hallways and in bathrooms. A well-lighted senior home is invariably a safer home.
Replace or Repair Floors
Floors bear the brunt of all house traffic and can become worn very quickly. Replacing flooring with new, eco-friendly materials like bamboo is good for the environment and less expensive than one may think. Wood floors are more durable for inevitable mishaps and can usually be sanded and polished to look new again. In general, they also provide good traction. Be careful with area rugs that do not have a latex backing. Use rug guards or other means to keep carpets from skidding. Make sure all edges of boards are smoothed out to prevent tripping on them.
Carpets, too, get a lot of heavy use and can become germ-filled and dirty quickly. If you rent a carpet shampooer and buy the required cleaning agents, you can restore new life to carpets at a fraction of the cost of buying new ones. For safety’s sake, make sure all edges of carpets are smoothed down and repair ripples, rips, or wrinkles in the carpet.
Bathrooms are where dated fixtures tend to vividly stand out. They are also scenes of many slips and falls. Some simple inexpensive steps like replacing chipped tiles and installing grip and handlebars in the shower, near the tub and next to the toilet can make a senior safer. A plastic seat in the shower with a handheld showerhead can also make showering safer. Higher toilet seats, possibly with side bars for ease in lowering and rising, are easily installed.
Simple cleaning methods or basic renewal techniques can also be used to restore the sparkle to a bathroom. Consider cleaning dirty grout or re-caulking around the shower, tub, and sink. This can aid in preventing leaks from entering walls, which could result in expensive major repairs. Make sure faucets do not leak water and are easy to handle, grip and move.
The kitchen is the heart of the home and the one room everyone uses. Because of its heavy use, it can become worn very quickly. Assure that appliance are functioning well and that all cords are in good condition, not frayed or covered with electrical tape. Replacing appliances with those with automatic shut-off features when they are hot or are left on too long is a sound safety step. Energy saving devices reduce the senior’s utility bills, too. Manufacturers’ websites are a good source of replacements for worn-out appliances.
Be sure the kitchen has smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Even if these are already there, make sure the batteries are fresh and that electrical one are functional.
Taking the time to help give a senior a new feel at home can make aging-in-place more pleasant. A home can be made safer and less expensive to run with simple steps and refurbishments.
Frazier, Karen. Ten Ways to make an Elderly Person’s Home Safer. Love to Know, Lifestyle. N.d. Available online at http://seniors.lovetoknow.com/aging-health/ten-ways-make-elderly-persons-home-safer.
Whitmarsh, John, and Coverson, Laura. “Seniorizing Your Home and Making it Safe for the Elderly. N.d. Available online at: http://www.kcet.org/shows/yourturntocare/do/seniorizing-your-home-making-it-safe-for-elderly.html.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Home Modifications. Eldercare Locator. N.d. Available online at: http://www.eldercare.gov/Eldercare.NET/Public/Resources/Factsheets/Home_Modifications.aspx