Now that more adults, particularly those over the age of 60, are choosing to remain in their homes after retiring, millions of them are choosing to add safety upgrades of various kinds. The decision is not just about avoiding common risks like falling, but it’s also about gaining peace of mind and building an independent, safe lifestyle. Safety modifications have the potential to deliver a double dose of benefits for owners. The right projects can make any living space comfortable and secure enough for older adults to live out their lives with confidence and enjoyment.
What kinds of jobs are they tackling? Some of the most popular projects qualify as DIY (do-it-yourself) tasks, while others call for the attention of licensed contractors and professional service technicians. In addition to enhanced security components, owners are installing home lifts, adding ramps, doing bath and shower modifications, getting medical alert systems, putting in special lighting, and much more. Here are details about the top seven safety-related upgrades older homeowners are choosing this year.
1. Home Lift
Anyone who has difficulty going up and down stairs can appreciate the idea of having a home lift. Not only do steps pose a risk of falling, but they can represent a formidable obstacle for those with arthritis, osteoporosis, and other maladies. Owners who decide to install a domestic lift, like those from Stiltz Homelifts, are taking advantage of a commonsense solution that lets people of all ages navigate their way between levels with no effort or risk. But convenience is not the only benefit. They make the entire home a much safer and more accessible space. Older residents who want an alternative to stairs get peace of mind when they have a lift.
2. Enhanced Security
For individuals who are past retirement age, home security is a priority. Luckily, there have been several major advances in the technology in recent years. That means today, it’s easier for owners to fortify their living spaces with components that are both affordable and effective. Favorites include smart locks, motion-sensitive lights, small but powerful surveillance cameras, and reinforced windows. Anyone who owns the latest components and devices can choose features that allow remote control and monitoring. For residents who are away on vacation, at their jobs, or gone for the day, remote access offers peace of mind. Some systems allow for real-time warnings and alerts via phone or email. Plus, it’s easy enough for users to customize all the settings and assemble a defense arrangement that is geared to their preferences and lifestyles.
Ramps are among the most common and affordable of all property upgrades. Those who have basic woodworking or assembly skills can build units instead of purchasing them. Ramps do a good job of making entryways more accessible and boosting the mobility of residents. Those who use crutches, wheelchairs, or walkers have great difficulty using stairs, if they can use them at all. The beauty of ramps is that they offer users a slow incline. That makes the transition between the two areas much smoother and worry-free. Homeowners put ramps everywhere, including on patios, main entrances, interior elevated floors, and elsewhere. The general benefit of ramps is twofold as they minimize the risk of falls and similar accidents, and they make moving about the home convenient and easy.
4. Bath and Shower Modifications
Those who slip and injure themselves at home usually do so in either the bathroom or shower. That makes logical sense because the floors there tend to be slippery often. That’s why making just a few changes in this part of the house can have a major impact on general wellness and safety. What kinds of things make a difference? Among the most common improvements and DIY projects are adding grab bars, installing non-stick flooring, putting in shower seats, and improving the lighting arrangement. Preventing falls and slips is an economical goal for just about anyone who is willing to purchase a few items at the local hardware shop and spend an afternoon working in their bathroom and shower.
5. Medical Alert Systems
While it’s wise to modify your home to prevent accidents of all kinds, there are technological solutions that go together with DIY and contractor jobs. Medical alert systems serve as a fast, convenient way for individuals to get help in the event of an emergency. How do they work? There are dozens of manufacturers and price points, but the two kinds are wearable and in-home units, both of which feature buttons. When a user pushes the button, they are automatically connected to a local emergency network or a designated family member or caregiver. The units have been on the market for decades, but recent advances have ushered in several sophisticated products that can bring assistance to a person in need within minutes. Alert bracelets give oldsters a deep sense of security and peace of mind.
6. Accessible Lighting
Lighting is a more subtle aspect of upgrading a living space, and many homeowners overlook it when they set out to make their houses less dangerous. But the right kind of lighting can offer excellent visibility and help individuals avoid eye strain. The latter is of particular interest to those who suffer from limited eyesight or various ailments that make them sensitive to bright lights. The goal of a comprehensive lighting project is to fully illuminate stairways, halls, garages, kitchens, bathrooms, and all common areas. For an added measure of savings and cost-efficiency, consider using motion-activated units, especially on walkways and in interior hallways where people need to see where they’re going.
7. Wide Doorways
Doorway modifications can be complex jobs, but they are essential for individuals who need wide areas of passage for wheelchairs of all types and most walkers. Having an accessible living space is a basic life need, so making doorways wide enough is a priority for many owners. Not only can the change make it easier to move about the house, but it can also minimize the chance of accidents. Many newer homes are designed with doorways that are significantly wider than usual to meet demand from home shoppers who prefer a more open, flowing floor plan.