April 18, 2011 11:31 am
By Michael Walsh
RISMEDIA, April 18, 2011--Living unassisted can be challenging for you as you age. The older you get, the more time you will most likely spend at home, so it's essential that your home is adapted to ensure easy mobility, as well as to reduce the likelihood of falls or accidents.
Furniture and flooring
One of the easiest ways to customize a home to ensure that it's safe is to take stock of the arrangement of furniture; the type of flooring that is currently installed in the home should also be considered. Furniture should be arranged in such a way that it can easily be navigated by a person using supports such as a cane or a walking frame, and should be sleek and simple in order to reduce the likelihood of a resident tripping over it. For example, avoid angled or ornate table or chair legs, and avoid beds or couches with elaborate valances that may pose a hazard. In addition, consider placing chairs or benches in areas that typically require residents to stand for long periods of time, such as in the kitchen.
Flooring is another area that can be easily modified in order to improve mobility as you age. Some surfaces such as floorboards, linoleum, or tiles can be extremely slippery, and can increase the likelihood of falls. While handrails can help to a degree, a good option is to put down soft, non-slippery flooring options. Carpet is a good option in most areas, while rubber matting can be effective in slippery bathroom areas. If purchasing rugs for around the home ensure that they have a non-slip backing.
Handrails and supports
Handrails and other mobility supports can be extremely helpful when it comes to navigating a home. Handrails should be thoughtfully positioned in areas that may be difficult to get to, requiring "resting" time; near any areas that may be slippery; near areas where the resident has to move into a standing position from a sitting one; or in areas with stairs, steps, or ramps. Good positions for handrails include in bathrooms and lavatories, near the property or garden entrance, near the front door or entrance of the home, outdoor areas such as balconies or patios, and in the kitchen.
Communication and security devices
Intercom devices for around the home can be effective when you need to ask for assistance; these devices can also be linked to external providers who can provide assistance when necessary. In addition, alarm monitoring services, such as smoke detector monitoring, can ensure that any potential emergencies are responded to promptly by the emergency services even if the resident is unable to reach a telephone in order to call in an emergency report. These services also extend to break-in and security services, and can offer valuable peace of mind when you are living at home.
Ramps are another essential component in a home where residents struggle with physical mobility. Even one or two steps, such as those commonly found in entryways or between different areas of the home, can be extremely difficult to navigate for the mobility impaired. Ramps offer a solution to help overcome this challenge and, depending on the gradient of the installation, can be used by the wheelchair-bound and by those who are still mobile but who struggle with climbing stairs and steps in order to get around the home.
Residential elevators are relatively new products that offer significant benefits, as they will help you retain your independence for as long as possible. Residential elevators can be installed within the home and can help residents move from one floor of the home to another without the need to struggle with stairs or ramps. Residential elevators are an excellent choice for multiple-story homes or townhouses, and offer significant space savings on solutions such as ramps. Residential elevators can also assist with helping you move from underground car spaces into your home with ease. You'll be able to do things such as carry groceries indoors with relative ease. Residential elevators are highly customizable and are available in a range of different specifications, meaning that they can be designed to suit all manners of needs, including those of the wheel-chair bound.
Stair lifts and chairlifts
Stair lifts are extremely useful devices for assisting the wheelchair bound to easily maneuver up and down straight or curved flights of stairs. They are a good option for those living in homes that already have existing flights of stairs, as they don't require substantial renovations in order to be installed. Stair lifts come in a range of different types in order to meet the various needs of wheelchair-bound individuals.