Making the home safe for lolo and lola

As the whole world battles the COVID-19 pandemic, more senior citizens face greater risks of infection and complications. Their loving family members make them stay home at all times, especially those who have illnesses that may place them in greater danger. 

Their homes, therefore, must be designed and maintained such that they offer safety and security not just for the senior residents, but for those with physical and cognitive difficulties. 

Consider the following tips on making homes safer and more comfortable for the elderly:

Put all of the essential spaces on the ground floor, including the senior family member’s bedroom. Other important areas include a bathroom, ideally accessible from the bedroom; a kitchen; and the dining area. Some people go as far as converting an existing space like the living room into a bedroom, for example.

To minimize the risk of infection, not just from COVID-19 but from other viruses and bacteria that may be lurking around the house, make sure to keep frequently used areas sanitized on a regular basis. Door handles and knobs, light switches, tabletops, faucets, handrails, and similar surfaces must be thoroughly cleaned regularly.  

A person in a wheelchair will find it challenging to enter the house if there are steps leading up to the front door. Construct a ramp for wheelchair-bound residents if the home has front steps. Door openings and hallways must also be wide enough for a wheelchair or walker to pass through. Experts suggest a standard width of at least 32 inches.

Older adults are prone to falls and when they do, the consequences could be dire. So do away with objects that may cause falls: area rugs, clutter, and electrical cords that are in the walkways. Build storage spaces horizontally rather than vertically so the elderly don’t need to use step stools or step ladders to get to them. 

To help them see better, rooms may also be painted a lighter color. Opening windows to improve air circulation and placing plants indoors will purify the air so they could breathe better. And if there is some space, modify the outdoor area so the elderly can spend more time in the early morning sun. A small garden with a comfortable chair and table would be a bright idea!

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