For many of us, our own home is full of memories and we have no wish to leave it as we get older. But homes we buy in our younger years aren’t always ideal as we age. So how can we adapt them to suit our needs?
Think about security
Bolts, locks and chains are pointless if you can’t bend or stretch to reach them, so make sure security equipment fitted to your door is easy to use. If it takes a long time for you to answer the door, an intercom is useful; some allow you to talk to your caller before walking to the door, while others allow you to open the door automatically. Another option is a keysafe, which allows select people to let themselves into your home. Doorbells that flash are useful if you have hearing loss.
Think about access
Access to front and rear doors is important. Steps and slopes can be difficult to negotiate, particularly in wet or icy weather, so consider having a hand rail set in concrete alongside a slope or longer set of steps; for just one or two steps, a grab rail fitted to the wall may be sufficient. For wheelchair users, access doorways may need to be widened and ramps installed. If there’s not space to install a ramp outside, a wheelchair lift can be fitted instead.
Stairs can be a problem, particularly if you need regular access to both floors. Having a second banister installed may help, but if this isn’t adequate, a stairlift or wheelchair lift can be fitted. There are many types of stairlift, so find the one that suits you and your home best. Many companies offer a free survey, during which they will assess your needs, measure your stairs and give you a quote.
In the Bathroom
You could opt for a bath with an opening door or a floor-level shower that allows you to walk straight in, but it may be easier to have a wet-room with a seat installed. If you keep your own bath, bath lifts are available which will lower you in. Easy turn taps and grip rails beside the toilet can be useful; if you find it difficult to clean yourself after using the toilet, you may wish to install a toilet that will automatically wash and dry you.
In the Kitchen
There are a huge range of tools available to make cooking and preparing food easier if you have trouble with your joints. If standing for long periods is difficult, a supportive stool which lets you work at work-top level is ideal, while wheelchair users may need worktops lowered to use them comfortably.
In the Bedroom
Specialist beds which raise you up can make it much easier to get out of bed in the morning, and also lower you down when it’s time to sleep. There are many tools available to make dressing easier.
Up and About
Once you’re out of bed, a riser fitted to your chair will help you sit down and get up, while gadgets with raised markings or lights can make it easier for you to operate anything from your TV to your central heating.