If you are selling your home over the next 10 years or just planning to live in it during your golden years you need to know about a huge trend—many ageing baby-boomers are retiring! What does that mean, you ask? Well, is your home outfitted for yourself or a senior buyer? Are appliances and things we take for granted safe, easy to access, load or turn on? “There are at least eight things you can do to make your home more elder-friendly,” agrees Mr. John E. Kasarda, Administrator, Little Brook Nursing Home in Califon, NJ:
- Install grab bars in bathrooms. They should be fitted per A.D.A. guidelines and anchored solidly onto walls. Grab bars can be purchased at your local hardware or home supply store and installed near toilets, around bathtubs and in shower stalls.
- Elevate the washing machine, clothes dryer and even your dishwasher. This will help to eliminate bending. Simple pedestals can be put in place under the clothes washer and the dryer. The dishwasher might take a bit more work, but it can be done.
- Light everything up! Put night lights in wall outlets. Ensure entry ways, porches and paths have plenty of lighting. Place lights by steps both inside and outside. Also, make sure all rooms in your home have adequate lighting and night lights are left on at night in bathrooms and your kitchen, especially.
- Change dual water faucets to single-handle lever faucets. Not only is a single-handle lever easier to use than a knob, but it may better control water temperature and lessen the likelihood of scalding yourself.
- Eliminate throw rugs. It is very easy to catch a foot on a throw rug and fall. Throw rugs also can bunch up, creating another tripping hazard. So roll them up and stow them away!
- Change door knobs to lever handles. Arthritic or weakened hands can have a very difficult time grasping and turning a round door knob. So change them, as lever handles can look just as nice!
- Make sure that all steps and stairs have good, well fastened hand rails on both sides wherever possible.
- Builders should make all of these changes and more in new homes. New construction should have hallways and doors wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs. Light switches should be placed lower on the walls so someone in a wheelchair can access them easily. The switches should also be rocker type switches rather than the up and down toggle type switches. Also, the shower entry should be built so that there is a minimal step to go over, if any.
You can do some or all of these easy changes yourself. By doing so, you may make your home safer, elder-friendly, and open it up to many more buyers if you’re selling! “And, by doing these you can contribute to living in peace, happiness, dignity, comfort, good health and safety,” says Mr. Kasarda.
Editor: Dr. JP Hampilos of Senior Care Focus, LBHI; Excerpts from an interview with John E. Kasarda, Administrator, Little Br ook Nursing and Convalescent Home on Sam Chapman’s article entitled “Eight Ways to Make a House Elder-Friendly”; Source: articlecircle.com.
Senior Care Focus, Issue No. 16.4