Making your home more accessible is essential as you age so anyone can safely get in and out of the house. Improvements for accessibility can sound expensive, but there are little things that make a world of difference. There are many low-cost solutions for seniors to live in a safe environment if they are limited in mobility.
Here are seven affordable ways to make your home more accessible.
1. Install Grab Bars
Areas like the bathtub, shower, toilet and stairs could need additional support. About 35% of people aged 70 and up have mobility limitations. It’s easy to slip, fall and maintain balance when using these household items. Grab bars will help ease fatigue when standing, balance and hold part of the weight to maneuver.
If you’re in a wheelchair, the bars can make it easier to move from the chair to the toilet. If someone does fall, grab bars allow them to get back on their feet.
2. Add a Toliet Riser
A toilet that sits low to the ground will be an issue as a person ages. Sitting down and standing back up can become problematic if the toilet sits too low. Toilet risers make it smoother for older people to sit down and stand up than toilets that are low to the ground.
Toilet raisers typically only cost between $20 to $60, making them an affordable way to add accessibility. Installing a toilet riser is simple since it doesn’t require any tools.
3. Build a Ramp
Stairs can be difficult in old age, whether in a wheelchair or not. Ramps can make things much easier for you or your parents to manage things independently. When building a ramp, you will want the lowest slope that is at least 36 inches wide to ensure a wheelchair can fit on it.
A ramp doesn’t have to be an expensive project. There are inexpensive folding and portable ramps that you can move as necessary. These options can save time since you may need a permit if you’re installing a permanent ramp to your home.
4. Switch Out Doorknobs
Many styles of doorknobs are difficult to use for those who have a hard time gripping and grabbing things—arthritis and strength loss cause turning a knob to be complicated. Replacing doorknobs with press lever handles, push/pull handles or automatic doors will increase accessibility quickly.
Keep things as simple and affordable as possible and use lever handles. They have a starting cost of around $25 and are worth considering to open and close doors easily.
5. Install Grip Mats
A simple and effective way to upgrade your bathroom and make it accessible is by adding grip mats. Grip mats are suitable for putting inside the shower to prevent slipping and falling since it gets wet and soapy on the ground.
After getting out of the shower, use bath mats to absorb the water. Using mats with grips will reduce the chances of it shifting under your feet. You can also put these mats elsewhere around the home, like the kitchen, since the floor can get wet too.
6. Rearrange Furniture
This is a simple and effective way to increase accessibility. Consider the layout of your home and see if your furniture is situated for people with low mobility and wheelchairs. Try moving your furniture so there are wider passageways and fewer sharp turns.
You can also make everyday items such as chairs, bookshelves and kitchenware easier to access. People in wheelchairs often can’t reach elevated surfaces, so you can move these items to lower shelves or cabinets to make things more accessible.
Closet rods are also tricky to navigate if arm flexibility and mobility are limited. Lowering the closet rod a few inches makes a huge difference from hanging clothes and taking them down. Dresser drawers can become difficult to open, so lowering the rod will make a big difference if the closet is the main form of storage.
7. Widen Doorways
Narrow doors ways make it difficult if you use a wheelchair, walker or cane since there is little space to maneuver. This can be a problem in lots of homes since the doors are designed long and skinny. Walkers typically need to be wiggled through, making it an unsteady way to walk and wheelchairs often don’t fit through.
You can affordably increase access by taking out the door altogether, changing the direction the door swings or removing some of the woodwork around the door frame. Widening the doorway doesn’t have to be a whole home improvement process with these simple solutions.
Make Your Home Accessible
Whoever the home needs to be accessible for, ensuring anyone can move around the house comfortably makes it inviting for everyone. Minor, affordable adjustments will make the home accessible in no time.