Home Adaptations for the Elderly

Elderly people require greater attention and more rigorous safety precautions. As such, it's important to install home adaptations that meet their needs.
Home Adaptations for the Elderly

Last update: 19 February, 2020

Old age can be a complicated time for many people. In some cases, physical ailments start to appear and can cause problems in the home. Therefore, it"s important to take steps to make their house more suitable, by introducing any necessary home adaptations.

The elderly can struggle with a number of physical limitations, whether when climbing into the shower or the bathtub, walking down the hall, getting into bed, or simply standing up.

Needless to say, prevention is better than cure. The main aim is to prevent any falls or other accidents before they occur. Ideally, no expense should be spared in matters of health and safety.

Home adaptations for the elderly – bathrooms

Bathroom safety rails.

Believe it or not, the bathroom is the most dangerous room in the house. Water can be a big problem, often causing slips and falls. When it comes to the shower, an adhesive mat can help elderly people feel more secure. If family members are particularly frail or prone to falls, having someone on-hand to supervise might be the safest course of action.

As for the sink and toilet, we recommend installing support rails to allow them to sit down and stand up safely without the risk of falling. But why next to the sink? Rails can be useful when leaning forward to wash the hands or face.

If possible, the floor should be made of non-slip material to avoid any other potential accidents. There"s no denying that a bathroom is a dangerous place for the elderly. However, it"s well within our power to reduce the risks.

3 fundamental bedroom adaptations

Home adaptations for the elderly - bed hoists.

Older people may find it more difficult to get in and out of bed, and caregivers often struggle to support their full weight. However, you can use technology to help make day-to-day life easier.

Here are 3 home adaptations that can be useful for bedrooms:

  1. More and more people are installing bed hoists. Although they can be a little cumbersome, they can be placed right next to the bed without taking up too much space. Bed hoists are made up of a long, articulated arm with a seat on the end. They"re designed to lift people in and out of bed safely.
  2. Bed-rails are essential for preventing falls and are a very efficient safety measure. All of us move around from time to time as we sleep. However, elderly people don"t always have quick enough reflexes to prevent themselves from falling out of bed.
  3. Alternatively, you could buy a bed that adapts to their physical limitations. Electronic beds allow you to raise or lower the head and feet separately, and even lower the entire mattress, just like a hospital bed.

Home adaptations for the elderly – stairlifts

A mechanical stair lift.

If you live in a villa or a multi-story house, there"s a really interesting solution that can help make climbing and descending the stairs easier, and prevent accidents in the home.

The stairlift allows elderly people to go up and down the stairs effortlessly. You"ll be surprised at just how practical, comfortable and efficient they are.

Stairlifts consist of a padded seat, which travels along a set of rails. The rail runs along the wall so that it doesn"t take space away from the stairs. This mechanical device is operated via a simple control system.

Moving around the house independently

As most people aren"t in a position to keep an eye on older relatives 24/7, it"s important to make it easier for them to move around the house independently.

One effective way to adapt the house is to install railings along the walls. This will allow them to walk at their own pace, supporting themselves every step of the way.

The reality is, home adaptations can be expensive. However, they are a worthwhile practical measure that will help reduce the risks that elderly family members often face as they get older.

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  • Manel N’tab, Jean Baptiste: Vivienda saludable total, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2015.