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Making an Age-Friendly World

Updated: Mar 31

Living spaces can become hard to navigate with changing bodies and brains, so here we offer a few tips and tricks to make the living space the most welcoming and friendly for your loved one! Creating an age-friendly space entails ensuring the area is set up to help seniors live safely and comfortably. This blog post will explore some of these tips and tricks and how they can be implemented in your own home. As we age, it is vital that we can remain independent, and these tips will help ensure independence remains. Some of the most common areas with hazards are objects on the floor, inadequate lighting, slippery surfaces, and lack of safety devices. The following recommendations are adaptable from person to person, making life a little easier for the individual and their family!

Broad recommendations through the entire living space:

Keeping space as clean and clutter-free as possible

  • No loose cords/wires

  • Removing lose area rugs or using a non-slip/securable area rug

Spaces are wide enough to accommodate necessary mobility devices and easy movement

  • Rearranging furniture as necessary

Railing(s) and stairs are non-slip and easy to navigate

  • Installing a railing on each side for extra support

  • Installing a stairlift if necessary

  • Bright tape on the edges of stairs

Home is safe and comfortable

  • Adequate ambient indoor lighting

  • Ensuring light switches are placed at a height reachable by a person

  • Safety grab bars installed if needed

  • Wipe up spills/mess right away

  • Exploring mobility devices as needed

  • Utilizing grips on doorknobs, or levered handles

  • Ensure door locks are easily turn-able

  • Switching to front-load laundry machines

More recommendations for individual rooms include:

Kitchen

  • Adequate lighting

  • Lever handles on faucets

  • Utilizing automatic shutoff appliances

  • Storing regular-use items in easy-to-reach locations

  • Pots, pans, and supplies

  • Store commonly used items at the front of the fridge

  • Ensure spills are cleaned promptly

  • Minimizing the number and distance items that need to be carried

  • Utilizing a Reacher

  • Utilizing stove knob turner to limit reaching

Living room

  • Adequate lighting

  • Clear pathways

  • Minimal clutter

  • Using furniture risers as needed

  • Using firm and foam cushions

  • Installing a floor to ceiling pole/assistive device to use for rising/lowering to/from furniture

Bedroom:

  • Adequate lighting

  • Adequate lighting at night for nighttime bathroom trips

  • Ensure pathway for individual and their mobility device to access the bed

  • Ensure needed items are within reach

  • Considering assistive devices as needed

  • Commode next to the bed

  • Transfer device to get in/out of bed

Bathroom:

  • Bathing equipment like a shower chair or bathtub transfer bench

  • Step-in shower installation is possible

  • Grab bars as needed

  • Adequate lighting

  • Toilet seat riser/commode

  • A grabber to minimize bending or to reach

  • Remove towel handle bars

  • Lever handles on faucets

  • Secured non-slip mats/stickers through bathroom and inside shower

  • Bright light inside the shower

  • Utilizing a shower caddy so all regular use products are together to minimize reaching

  • Wet floors are cleaned up promptly

  • Wipe up spills/mess right away

Outdoors:

  • Adequate lighting

  • Non-slip surfacing

  • Removing hazards such as leaves, ice, and snow

  • Keeping paved pathway free from obstruction

  • Repair damages in pathways

  • Utilizing a double railing with stairs

  • Installing a ramp where stairs are, as needed

It is important to regularly evaluate the needs of your loved ones and evaluate the safety of their living space to add more changes if needed. Modifications can range from a few basic changes to a complete renovation, but the person who lives in that space must be consulted regardless of the selected options. It is imperative to remember that what might be assumed to be a small change can feel like a very big and overwhelming change for the older adult.


-Ashley

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