When it comes to older Americans, many want to do what it takes to stay in their home and maintain every bit of independence possible. This is true even when their mobility beings to become limited. As a loving family member, you want to help them achieve this. Luckily, it is possible. However, it will take some home improvements in order to keep your loved one safe as they grow old in their home.
Here are four things to focus on in order to make this work:
1. Open Up the Floor Plan.
While you aren't going to want to do a major overhaul on your aging family member's home (and they likely won't want that done), you will need to re-arrange furniture in order to create as open of a floor plan as possible. For example, if the living room suite is blocking the entryway into the dining room or foyer, these pieces need to be moved so that you can easily stroll through without worrying about hitting or tripping over something.
2. Get Rid of the Carpet.
While carpet may help cushion a fall, which seniors are prone to, the truth of the matter is that carpet is no good if you're in a wheelchair or using a walker. The wheels on these mobility devices simply won't operate properly on carpet. Therefore, any carpet in the home – particularly the high-trafficked areas – needs to be replaced with hardwood flooring or something similar.
Basically, you just need a smooth, hard surface. If there is a lot of tile in the home, this doesn't have to be ripped up and replaced, but you should consult with a professional on minimizing the depth of the grout lines to avoid any hang-ups.
3. Add Ramps for Easier Transitions.
If your elderly loved one's home connects to the garage, then there may be two or three steps that are used for entering and exiting the garage. The same is true with backyard decks and front porches. To make it easier for your loved one to enjoy these spaces, you should consider a high-quality wheelchair ramp that will allow easier and safer transition between the two areas of the home.
4. Install a Stair Lift.
If your aging family member lives in a two-story home, you may want to consider only using the bottom story for living space. However, if your loved one isn't for this, then you should hire a professional to install a stair lift. If they require a wheelchair at all times, a stair lift can still be used. However, it will be easiest if there are two wheelchairs – one at the bottom and one at the top of the stairs.
For more information about improving accessibility for your elderly loved one at home, contact a medical device company that can answer any questions that you have and even point you in the right direction of mobility devices and installation companies. To learn more, contact a company like All-Star Lifts with any questions you have.