As we grow older, we can become less mobile and agile, and this might impact us in many ways – our confidence, independence and wellbeing can suffer. Thankfully there are ways to adapt our homes to make life easier and safer and enable us to live comfortably at home. Even better, the products which we use to adapt our homes have had a make-over in recent years with a focus on aesthetics, meaning they are not only practical, but discreet and attractive and designed to complement our chosen home décor.
Benefits of home adaptations
Making small but significant adaptations to our homes has many benefits: the obvious one being that it makes it possible to live independently in our own homes for much longer without needing assistance or even needing to move into care. Retaining that independence in the home is shown to have positive mental health impacts, in improving confidence and increasing self-esteem as well as the physical benefits of preventing falls and generally looking after health and wellbeing.
Falls are a serious concern for seniors, and during the pandemic they were the number one cause of emergency hospital admission for older adults. Falls and subsequent prolonged hospitalization can often lead to further health issues, sometimes meaning that patients cannot return to their own home as they require more hands-on care. Any sort of fall is best avoided at all costs, and there are many home adaptations that go a long way to make homes as safe as possible.
Most popular home adaptations
Some seniors require only simple adaptions such as ramps at doorways and handrails in key positions, but there are a huge range of products that can help in the more hazardous areas of the home, like the bathrooms and kitchen, and most essentially moving between floors. Here are some of the most popular simple adaptions to assist with independent living:
Handrails – Installing grab-bars and handrails around the home, especially near steps, or bathrooms can make it safer to maneuver around the home.
Bathroom adaptations – Walk in baths, non-slip floor tiles, and fold out seats in the shower can help reduce the risks of slips and falls in the bathroom.
Half steps or ramp – Making entrances easier to access makes going out and returning home much simpler and safer.
Improved lighting – Dark areas in the home can create a hazard, as well-lit walkways make it easy to see any obstacles, task lighting in the kitchen prevents accidents while cooking, and reading lights take the strain from the eyes in the evening.
Motion sensor lights – Automatic lights prevent the need to find the light switch in the dark, and nightlights are a good idea for safety at night.
Home elevators – For those starting to feel the stairs are unsafe, a residential elevator is the ideal solution. A home elevator provides a safe and easy way to travel between the floors of the home without effecting the main staircase. Modern home lifts have come a long way since the old fashioned ‘box-like’ through-floor residential elevators run by noisy hydraulics. Home elevators from Stiltz, for example, are sleek and compact and attractively designed to blend into the home.
Lifts such as the Duo+ Home Elevator and Trio+ Home Elevator have a surprising small footprint but are roomy enough to carry two people and even heavy items around the home. Running on two self-supporting vertical rails, and powered by a simple wall socket, there is no need for a bulky lift shaft, and the lift can be located in almost any position around the home. The quiet, electric motor is neatly housed above the lift car, there are safety sensors built in and everything is controlled by the touch of a button, making travelling between floors as simple and convenient as possible.
Aging in Place
Many more people are choosing to future-proof their home whilst they are younger, so their home is ready for their senior years. Home elevators are an excellent adaptation for future-proofing as they are a convenient addition to any home, no matter the age of the household. Stiltz can be fitted with a seat, and they offer a model which is suitable for wheelchair users. A home lift makes a much better futureproof solution than a stair lift, which can get in the way when not in use and might be unsuitable and unusable depending on the mobility issue.
Adding value to the home
When making adaptations to the home, it is best to consider which products will increase the value of your home, rather than detracting from it. Realtors have said that a home elevator such as the ones sold by Stiltz appeal to prospective owners and therefore can increase the value of the home should the owner choose to sell, unlike some adaptations which decrease the value. Although we don’t plan to move from our homes, sometimes we need to, and considering carefully which products to include in any adaptations based on the value they add is a smart step.