Tuesday 9 February 2021

Easy Ways to Adapt Our Homes as We Get Older

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We all grow old at some point but growing old doesn't have to mean moving out of your home or that you have to stop doing the things you enjoy. In fact for many older people, having to leave their home is often one of their biggest worries as they get older. That's because as we get older we can start struggling with things such as climbing the stairs or using certain items in the home. But there are lots of ways that you can adapt your home to make it much easier to live in as we get older and below I am discussing just some of the ways you can make your home work for you as you get older. 

Whether you are thinking about adapting your own home, or thinking of a loved one who may be struggling in their home adapting your home can seem like a daunting prospect, but it really doesn't have to be. 

There are many things to consider before you start including whether it is safe for you to stay at home, if you want to stay at home and of course the cost of any adaptions. You may also want to pin point the most important adaptions you want to make so that you can prioritise these. For example if you have a lot of stairs that you struggle with, a stair lift may be an important adaption for you. If in doubt you could always reach out to somewhere such as Age UK Mobility who will be able to advise which products would be best suited. 

As I mentioned above, there are many ways in which you can adapt your home (or the home of a loved one) to make it easier to live in, here are a few of them. 

Walk In Bath or Wet Room

Staying mobile and keeping clean can get much harder as we get older and therefore things like climbing in and out of a bath or standing in a shower can become increasingly difficult. There are however several ways around this including installing extra hand rails, installing a walk in bath or even converting a bathroom into a wet room. Of course these all come at varying costs so it is important to decide which one would work best for you. 

Walk in baths are a great all round option and there is plenty of choice on the market. You can even find walk in baths which combine a bath and shower unit and some even have fancy spa type features for added relaxation. Which ever option you decide being able to access and use bathroom facilities is a must when adapting your home. 

Extra Lighting 

As we get older our eye sight can often become effected (which is also why it is super important to get regular eye exams and check ups!) but this can also mean we might need more light or brighter light to help us see things. You could invest in "day light" bulbs which help fill the room with light closer to that of daylight then the more artificial orange glow light bulbs can give out. Or you could use extra lamps around the home that can be used when needed for things such as reading, crafts or just for some extra lighting when needed. 

Stair Lift or Extra Bannisters

One of the first things people often find most difficult as they get older is the stairs. They can be difficult to get up when mobility becomes limited and often even more difficult to get down! This often means that it restrictions movement within the home and can become problematic if for instance the only toilet or bedroom is situated upstairs. 

One way around this is using a stair lift which allows a chair to be installed on a runner which can then carry a person up and down the stairs in a seated position. However stair lifts can be costly and bulky so if you stairway is quite narrow this may be an unsuitable option. But there is always the option of adding extra bannisters to the stairs. Ensuring you have a bannister either side of the stairs that can be held onto will make the user feel more stable and offer extra support. 

Electronic, Adjustable or Lower Beds 

Climbing into bed at night is suppose to be relaxing and comfortable right? But what happens when you become older and find getting in and out of bed uncomfortable? Your bed no longer becomes a place where you can relax and a good nights sleep is vital for good health! 

There are many different options when it comes to choose a bed that is right for you and of course it is worth trying out different beds if you can or discussing your options with a bed specialist. This will ensure you find the right bed option, however some of the options including a lower bed. Having a bed lower to the ground will make it easier to get in and out of, just ensure it isn't too low or you may find it difficult to get up from. Another option is an electric or adjustable beds, these beds are designed to allow the user to control the bed using a small remote. This enables them to manoeuvre the bed to make it easier to get in and out off as well as helping to find a more comfortable position to sleep in such as having their head end of the bed slightly raised. 

If a new bed isn't quite what you are looking for you could also consider installing side rails to the bed which will help the user get in and out of bed without having to change beds or mattresses around. 

Extra Security

We all want to feel safe inside our homes, but as we get older we can definitely feel more vulnerable and so having extra security measures can help anyone feel more safe! There are many great inventions now such as having an intercom system to allow you to let people in without having to physically go and answer the door is mobility is limited. There are also video door bells which means you can see who is at your door and even speak to them before having to answer the door. This means the person can ask to see ID or refuse entry to anyone they are uncertain about. 

You could also consider a key safe if the elderly person has regular visitors. This would allow any family to gain access to a key via the safe, safely and give an added extra level of security for the person inside. 

One of the most important things to remember is that any changes you make have to be the right ones for you or for the person you are making them for. They are about ensuring the person is happy and feels safe so good communication and discussion it vital to ensure everyone is happy with any changes. You don't need to make lots of changes overnight and actually it can be better to make small changes over a longer period of time to allow the user to get used to them. 

Whilst these adaptions may help, nothing can replace a friendly face or helping hand so if you think a loved one or even yourself may still be struggling it is important to reach out to someone you trust and ask for help.

Have you made any adaptions to your home or perhaps for a friend or relative that have been really helpful? Let me know what they were and how they helped in the comments below. 


**This is a collaborative post.**

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