Plan a safe, comfortable home for all generations

Most of us start life depending on
our parents to take care of us. But as they age, chances are the roles will
reverse. And, whether you provide additional help in their own home – or move
ageing parents into your home – how do you prepare to meet the new needs of
ageing adults?

Luckily many simple, quick,
affordable – and even stylish and savvy – updates can make homes safer and more
enjoyable for you, your family and your parents.

De-clutter

Both kids and older adults have
reduced reflexes and balance. Spruce up the look of your home – and avoid
tripping hazards – by removing clutter and items you no longer use (especially
obstacles in walkways). With a few minor updates, you can breathe easier
knowing your home is safer for your loved ones – both young and old.

Safe, spa shower

Showers can be an enjoyable and
luxurious part of anyone’s day – if they are safe. While you probably don’t
want to renovate the shower, simple additions of safety products can make it
safer and more enjoyable. Start by adding rubber grips to the bottom of the
shower to avoid slick surfaces. Next, take a seat with a comfortable shower
chair and enjoy a shower massage with a multifunction hand held
showerhead. 

Save resources, save money

Eco-friendly adjustments not only
can make you feel good about preserving natural resources for your family, they
can also help lower energy costs (ideal for tight budgets). Simple steps can
include replacing standard light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs,
insulating doors and windows and swapping faucets and shower heads with new
water-saving models.

Handy handles

In the course of a day, you grip
many objects – from cups and pens, to door knobs and faucet handles. Swapping
out door knobs or faucets with knobs for lever-handle models can make these
everyday tasks a bit easier – especially for smaller or arthritic hands.

Get a grip

For any age, stairs are a falling
hazard in homes – whether it’s one step or 20. To increase safety, add hand
rails or decorative hand grips in high-traffic doorways where there may be a
step, such as the garage or front entry. Visit your local home centres for
attractive-looking nine-inch grips that install easily and blend in with your
decor.

Let there be light

Did you also know that by age 60
the average person requires 15 times more lighting than when they were 10 years
old? Brighten up the home with additional reading lamps in bedrooms and family
rooms, under-cabinet task lighting in the kitchen, motion-sensor lights near
entrances and night lights in hallways.

Safe and secure

Your home is your safe haven … so
make sure it is protected. In the bathroom where slick surfaces can be falling
hazards, add functional – yet fashionable – grab bars. And, in case of
unforeseen falls or other home accidents, home security systems can give you
peace of mind to know that fire, medical or emergency-response is available for
you and your loved ones at the touch of a button.

Flat flooring

According to the Home Safety
Council, falls are the leading cause (66 per cent) of all nonfatal home injuries.
To help you – or your loved ones – avoid becoming a statistic, remove throw
rugs or ensure that they have a nonslip backing to provide more firm footing.

Low-maintenance lawns

With busy lifestyles, it’s tough to
keep up landscaping. Making a few modifications to the yard can help ease the
burden. Replace large grassy areas that require frequent mowing with rock
gardens or mulch beds. Additionally, choose drought-resistant perennial plants
and shrubs to save time and money on watering – and ensure you don’t have to
plant new each spring.

Be prepared

Are the washer and dryer in the
basement? Are the bedroom and bathroom upstairs? Since stairs can be difficult
to navigate for children or ageing parents, having all the necessities on one
floor is ideal. While it may not be in the budget to move everything to the
main floor now, gradually start getting ready by wiring a closet or small room
for the laundry – or planning to expand a half bath to a full bath.

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