Giving Care: Senior & Disabled Caregiver Resource Blog

Do-It-Yourself: Basic Home Adaptations for Seniors

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According to statistics, 17 million homes in the US will have at least one older adult with mobility problems indicating the need for more accessible homes for seniors. Given that seven million elderly people in America use crutches or other walking support and two million use wheelchairs, homes often need to be adapted to accommodate these needs. How can homes be adapted with little funding or help to carry out alterations? The addition of some basic features can make a big difference.

What Needs Do You Have?

Do you have more than one elderly adult to accommodate? If so, do they each have different access requirements? Adapting your home or the home of a loved one can be pricey so adapting specifically to their needs can be a way to cut costs. Do they need access to the upper floors or are there enough amenities on the ground floor? Do they have a wheelchair or other walking support? Are there children who also need more accessibility? Universally designed homes provide accessibility to older adults with mobility problems as well as children.

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Easy DIY Additions

Adapting your home can be expensive but there are some basic things you can do to make life a little easier on your loved one. Instead of moving cupboards down to a lower level, why not make a simple ‘reacher’ using a coat hanger? The hook end will enable you to grab things without them falling and causing injury. Simple Velcro or sticky tape can be used to keep items easily accessible such as keys, a personal alarm or a mobile phone. Dressing may be difficult so the use of aids like zip pullers, sock aids and dressing sticks can help. Those who are unsteady on their feet may find grab rails to be a helpful modification. These can be added around the home as well as in the bath or shower to avoid falls. Falls are the most common cause of injury in seniors so it is vital that those with mobility issues do not slip or trip as they may not be able to fully recover.

Seeking Help

Adapting a home can present challenges to those with financial difficulties. There are grants available to those in need, particularly if moving home would be too stressful for your loved one. It may become necessary to move home if the adaptations are too difficult or extensive to put in place. Those with disabilities have a right to be considered for a home with these adaptations under the Fair Housing Act.

There may come a time when home adaptations are no longer preventing accident or injury or your loved one needs extensive help around the home that is not possible to accommodate with minor adaptations. This may be the time to consider getting your loved one further help in the form of a care giver or assisted living accommodations.

For more basic home and tool adaptations, visit Silvert’s on Pinterest!

About the author:

Jess Walter is a freelance writer and mother. She loves the freedom that comes with freelance life and the additional time it means she gets to spend with her family and pets.


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