5 Simple Home Modifications to Allow Seniors to Age-in-Place

Elderly woman holding a house with a heart in the center.

The aging process looks different for everyone. Part of what we do each day is to go into homes and perform Home Safety Assessments. The purpose of performing these assessments is as it sounds. We want to ensure that homes are safe for everyone living there. During our 75 point assessment we make recommendations for modifications or improvements in the home with the hope of reducing the risk of potential hazards and injury. While most of our clients who receive this service are aging individuals and seniors, we can perform this service for anybody, including those with disabilities. When we focus on those in the aging population, seniors, there are some easy modifications to help improve the homes and minimize any danger.

1. Widening doorways. Having wide doorways are essential for easy mobility throughout a house. This is especially true if anyone frequenting the home uses a mobility device such as a cane, walker or wheelchair. A smallest door frame width to accommodate these mobility devices is 32”, but at this width crossing the threshold might be a tight squeeze. Especially if a regular door hinge means that the door takes up an inch or two of space when opened. An easy way to add an inch of space is by replacing the regular door hinges with offset door hinges. This will mean that the door hangs in line with the door frame when opened and won’t take up valuable inches of width. You can also consider widening the doorway completely by replacing the frame and door for something larger in width.

2. Replacing your door knobs. As we age our grip strength tends to decrease. This can be due to many factors, a common one being the increased likelihood of arthritis increasing with age. True door knobs are harder to grip and twist at the same time, than their counterparts lever style handles. Lever style handles can move with a slight push of an elbow, arm, hand, even foot if your balance is good enough! This makes it a great replacement for traditional style knobs.

3. Rearranging your space. In rooms like the kitchen or bathroom having your most accessed stuff in easy to get to locations. Consider strange arrangements, such as having pots and pans in the lower shelf of your upper cabinets, or even display them on your stove as if you’re ready to cook at any time. As we age we want to avoid bending and lifting heavy objects as much as possible. We also want to minimize the need to use ladders and step stools to access things in higher places as they present extra fall hazards. Falls accidents in seniors account for more than half of all hospital trips and are increasing 1.5%/year according to HeathDay News.

4. Consider your shower and tub. If you have a fixed shower head opt to replace it for a handheld model. This will allow you to sit in your shower and rinse yourself. You can also direct a water stream to help you clean your shower. If you’re worried about slips and falls consider adding a grab bar to your shower. Grab Bars can keep you steady as you move about the wet and slippery floor. The last thing you want to add to your shower/bath is a non-slip mat, this will increase the friction between your feet and the floor of the tub so that you can move about with steady steps.

5. Check your flooring. Throw rugs might be pretty but they can be large tripping hazards when in the home if not properly secured to the floor. If you want to add a floor rug opt for something flat and take the time to put a non-slip mat underneath and adhere rug-tape to the corners and edges of the rug to keep it stationary throughout the day. Ensure that your floors have open pathways and are clear of clutter including various cables and cords.

TruBlue’s trusted technicians are trained in assessing your homes and carrying out all of these safety modifications and more. Each TruPro is bonded, insured and background checked for your safety so you can feel confident about our techs working on your homes and providing home support for those that you love. Learn more about our senior focused home care services HERE.