Home Safety Renovations

Thinking about renovating your home? As we age, it’s important to make the necessary changes to make a safe living space.

Renovating the home can be expensive. In BC, seniors or family members can claim 10 % for a maximum claim of $1,000.00 on renovations that make senior homes safer.  For more information, click here

Here’s a quick guide for you to help you assess your home:

Bathroom

Make sure your bathroom is a safe environment by looking at all the components in it.

Consider converting your bathtub into a walk-in shower.  Installing hand-held showers on adjustable vertical rods can also make your life much easier, and having a bath seat is also essential for the shower or tub as one ages.

Install grab bars around the shower and toilet to provide extra reinforcement against any slips.

Raised toilet seats are also a good idea, making sitting down and getting up a little easier. 

Hands free taps (automatic taps) can be installed to provide an easy way to wash your hands. 

Kitchen

Take a look at your kitchen space. Can you comfortably reach the things you use on a daily basis?

Height adjustable cupboards are a great choice for the kitchen if things are out of a comfortable reach.

Alternatively, place all of your daily use items on the lower shelves and leave the higher shelves for things that may only be needed a couple times a year, when you have someone to help you get them down. 

Certain appliances and gadgets can make the preparation of meals and the cleanup afterwards much simpler.  Consider installing a dishwasher to remove the need to do dishes after every meal.  An electric kettle with an automatic shut-off is a much safer alternative to boiling water on the stove. 

Lighting

Make sure that there is adequate lighting in your home, especially at the exterior entrances to prevent trips. Perhaps consider motion activated lighting, which lights the stairway or room simply by you entering it. 

Doors

Getting through doors can often be tricky business—for those who are in a wheelchair, consider widening doors and installing swing-clear hinges (which enable doors to swing wider) for easier passage. Lever handles also tend to be easier to use than knobs.

Get door locks which are easy to use, but make sure it’s not too easy to lock yourself out!

Flooring

How is your flooring in your home? Slip resistant floors are good for everybody (including kids) to prevent injuries. Beware of old area rugs which can be a trip hazard and make it also harder for walkers to roll smoothly.

Stairs

Ensure that the railings on your stairs are adequate and are able to support your weight in the event of a fall. Also, check the flooring of the stairs. Consider carpeting stairs or slip resistant flooring here as well.

If you have trouble with stairs, installing a lift chair or perhaps an elevator for wheel-chair users can be an option.

Personal Alert System

Personal alert systems such as Philips Lifeline, are designed to assist seniors in emergency situations such as in the case of an injury or fall. There is also a range of similar products available from competing companies. If you are concerned about your safety at home, getting a personal alert system can give you more confidence about living independently.

Making your home safe is important to enable you to live independently for as long as possible.  If you currently live in a house and are finding the home adjustments overwhelming, consider downsizing to an apartment, to avoid the need to use stairs and the maintenance associated with a house. The most important thing is that you’re comfortable and safe in your home.

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