Turning Your House into a Senior Friendly Home
The Netherlands is well known for its beautiful houses and stunning scenery. And in contrast to many other European cities, it is possible to find many two-or three-story homes with a scenic garden – just perfect for families with children and pets.
But for older people it is important to consider making a few changes to the home to reduce their chances of slips and falls. Since one-floor bungalows can be hard to come by, and many older persons wish to remain living at home, or move in with family members, a little renovation and DIY magic can help them feel safe and sound, as can following a few simple home decoration tips.
Changes in the Kitchen
Slips and falls while seniors are cooking and preparing food often happen because they are reaching for items that are too high up in the cupboard. If necessary, move storage space down so that all cupboard space is accessible. If you do not wish to renovate, keep items you do not use often on higher shelves, and ensure everyday pots, pans and ingredients are within easy grasp. Also, it’s important to make sure your kitchen is fitted with a smoke detector to ensure your home is safe from fires. And to help transport food from the kitchen to other areas, consider investing in a kitchen trolley as a cheap and practical solution.
Reducing Risks in Common Areas, and the Living Room and Bedroom
Making your home safer for mature people involves targeting specific risks and conditions. For instance, those who have arthritis may find it difficult to open doorknobs; replace the latter with lever door handles, which give way with less of an effort. Look out for potential fall risks too such as steps, which should have steady handrails on both sides of the steps and, if necessary, a chairlift, which is a great solution for seniors people with mobility or joint problems.
The living room should be as clutter-free as possible and should have enough free space in the middle, to ease walking from one side of the room to the other. Keep electrical cords tucked into a holder or affix to the wall, to reduce the likelihood of tripping.
In the bedroom, use rails on either side of beds. A real treat which can make rest a breeze for those over 65 are electric beds, which can be raised or lowered with the touch of a button. These beds can also be placed into specific positions, to aid back pain and other problems.
Keeping the Bathroom Safe
The bathroom can be a common source of falls, especially when the floor or bath is slippery. Use mats right next to the bath and inside it for greater support. If your senior loved one is frail, consider having a bath bench installed, which will increase confidence at bath time greatly. Just making a few changes, like raising the toilet seat, to help reduces knee stress when sitting down and standing up, can make a huge difference.
There are so many ways to make a home safer for mature people; some changes require renovation and professional work, but others (such as removing rugs that people can trip over or use a non-skid mat in the bathroom) are cheap and easily achieved. Start with small steps and work up towards building a truly safe, fall-proof home for everyone in the family.
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