Changing Your Home for Later Life: A Short Guide

For many adults across the world, living life deep into their 80s and even beyond is a real possibility. While this means that populations are living far longer in their later years, affording them more time to experience the world and the joy of their families and loved ones, it also presents challenges related to their autonomy in the difficult periods in which the aging process limits their movement. If you’re approaching later life, or you’re looking out for a relative who is, here are some ways that a home can be changed to accommodate older people comfortably and safely. 

Trip Hazards

The first quick tip is to remove all trip hazards – even those that you feel will take something away from the room, either visually or practically. This is especially important for rugs, whose corners are predominant trip hazards, and also places in which wires and other smaller objects might get tangled. A fall is no joke in an older person’s life – so you want to do everything you can to avoid this possibility.

Better Lighting

With eyes beginning to fail and falls becoming riskier, older people need better light to function properly within their homes. As such, you’re going to want to invest in plenty of heavy lighting in the important areas of your home – specifically, the bedroom, the kitchen and the living room. Look into specialist reading lamps to help you continue reading into old age, despite deteriorating eyesight. 

Walk-in Bathrooms 

Next, let’s think about hygiene. This is often one of the factors that lead the elderly going into care homes – they do not have the agency and will-power to get into the shower or into a bath every day to clean themselves. One of the big barriers to this, of course, is how exactly a bathroom is fitted, and if you make changes to your bathroom to accommodate older inhabitants, this shouldn’t be an issue. Look for disabled bathroom equipment, and fit it in your home, to prolong your time spent living independently. 

Kitchen Ease

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The same principle that applies to your bathroom should also be applied to your kitchen. That’s because this is a room in which there’s a lot of bending down and reaching up to do – and this can prove to be increasingly difficult for older people with aches and pains that restrict movement. Making smart changes to your home – like keeping cupboards accessible and filling them with vital equipment – will help you continue maintaining your lifestyle in your old age.

Comfort and Space

Perhaps the two most important elements to consider when making changes for the elderly in a home are providing comfort – real comfort – and space, both to move, but also to think and to pursue any hobbies that you take up in retirement. It’s all about making yourself feel most at ease in your own home – and often this means selling off old furniture that’s more clutter than practical. 

These five areas of change will help older people live longer in their homes, avoiding the care home in favor of a more independent lifestyle.

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