As the number of seniors in the Malaysia continues to grow, more and more people are wanting to age in place in their own homes. However, as we age, we may start to face new mobility constraints that can make our homes full of safety hazards.
The good news is that there are plenty of steps we can take to make our homes more accessible and safe, without having to do expensive or lengthy renovations. These adjustments can make a big difference in our overall quality of life.
Grab bars are a great way to make your home safer, especially if you're worried about falls in the bathroom or shower. But you can also install them in other areas of the house, like along a long hallway, under a kitchen countertop, or next to a doorway. They're relatively inexpensive and offer peace of mind, knowing that there's always something to help steady you if you need it.
Keeping your home clean and organized doesn't just make it look nicer - it can also prevent injuries. Make sure hallways are clear of clutter, there's enough shelving to store everything away, and that you aren't keeping any items on the floor that could be a trip hazard.
Good lighting is key to avoiding accidents in the home, especially for those with impaired vision. Be sure to have strong overhead lights that illuminate every potential obstacle, and use night-lights in hallways and bathrooms.
When making your home accessible, don't forget about the floors! Make sure all carpets are securely attached to the floor and short enough to allow for smooth wheelchair navigation. Install slip-resistant flooring and grip mats in bathrooms and kitchens, and make sure all flooring is at a uniform level.
If you have a gravel driveway or muddy, cobblestone path outside, it may be time to consider smooth cement or asphalt landscaping.
Stairlifts and Ramps
No matter if your stairs are indoor or outdoor, spiral or straight, there is a stairlift solution for your home that can help make things more accessible for those who have trouble with mobility. One-third of healthy adults age 65+ experience at least one fall per year, many of which are linked to difficulty going up or down stairs. Stairlifts and vertical platform lifts can transfer users between floors without the risk of injury or the need for expensive home renovations.
If you have an area in your home with only a few steps, you may want to consider an accessible ramp as an alternative solution.
Transferring between positions can be a daunting task for those who are mobility-impaired, but it doesn't have to be. There are many products on the market that can assist with safe transfers, like lift chairs and hi-low beds. These devices encourage independence and make it easier to move between seated/laying and standing positions.
Don’t forget the details
Accessibility starts with the little things. Take some time to brainstorm ways that you or someone you love might struggle with everyday tasks. For example, you could replace round doorknobs with ADA-compliant handles, swap out swinging closet doors for space-saving sliding ones, or add voice-activated commands for lights and other appliances.
These are just general suggestions to get you started, but you'll want to tailor any additional modifications to the specific needs of the people who will be using the space. After all, everyone's experience with accessibility is unique.
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