Friday, December 9, 2011

The Future Of Home Construction With Accessible Living Solutions

Considering that accidents happen at a fairly consistent rate it is probable that at some point a disability will hit with in the home that reduces a person’s mobility.  When an accident occurs it is likely individuals can find themselves dependent upon the use of a wheelchair, walker or scooter device.  Also, as people age the simple act of maneuvering around the home becomes trickier.  Often times these are the points in life that it is realized the space within the home and accesses in and out of the home are compromised and need to be updated. 
It is rare that a home is built with the limitations handicaps and aging in place bring.  Most traditional builders do not build with the foresight that narrow doors and an abundance of stairs might eventually be difficult for maneuverability.  Builders don’t build with questions such as “How would I access this narrow door?” or “How would I access this stairway?” with the same thinking as someone with a handicap or some years under their belt.  Consumers don’t often purchase homes thinking about the golden years or the what if’s accident bring. 
Accessible living solutions within the home is an industry in which is being grown out of a need that has not been filled with in the home construction industry.  Remodels of this magnitude look at all aspect of aging and handicap needs.  Handicap accessible renovations look into home modifications that make the difficulties aging and handicaps bring and work to lessen if not eliminate them.  Enhancements will improve not only daily life but overall safety as well.   
Aging in place is becoming a more viable option for seniors and their loved ones.  Many times people would rather not move late in life and prefer the idea of maintaining independence and caring for themselves.  As long as caregivers can keep them safe with simple modifications this option helps many dreams of independent living a reality.  The same is true when you think of individuals in which have been handicapped naturally or accidently.  Handicap is not a synonym for unable to.  In fact it often makes one more determined to be independent.
This was true when I broke my ankle.  I was handicapped by the fact I could not walk.  Crutches hurt, wheelchairs worked well outside of my home however inside the home was a complete disaster.  I can only imagine the same is true for others with disabilities. 
Everyone’s needs are a bit unique.  Some such as me only need to meet a temporary need while others need permanent solutions to everyday dilemmas.  It is important for us to be able to care for ourselves.  Privacy is a premium within the bathroom and dressing areas. Handicap construction teams come into homes and meet with clients to access their needs and values.  This in turn allows them to seek out areas modifications are necessary and ones that are not with accessible living solutions. 
A prediction for the future with life spans increasing is that awareness begins within the construction industry.  Homes will be seen with easier access in and out, wider doors will become standard and open floor plans will be on the rise.  It is also important to note that homes will be built with multiple bathrooms in which at least one is built with shower access that does not involve a traditional tub.  Small modifications such as these will allow the next generation to age in place with less issues then what faces elderly and handicap individuals today. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Bathroom Safety For Seniors

The main concern in seniors interested in aging in place is their safety.  It is important for us as caregivers to research safety modifications to improve the safety in each room that they will be using.  Bathroom safety is of utmost importance.  The bathroom is the room in a home in which most accidents occur.  With this in mind it is important to realize the odds increase for an accident when seniors are involved.  The lack of balance and slower motor skills increases the odds ten-fold for an accident to occur.  Thankfully there are many options to increase the safety for loved ones while allowing them to age in place.
Most modifications in the bathroom can be done with just a bit of forward thinking.  Many home modification companies exist to make sure age in place modifications are done correctly. The important part of the equation is to look at the space, evaluate the changes that need to be put in place and upgrade the space to create the most efficient, hazard free space possible for your loved one.
Safety modifications can be done to fit all budgets and safety needs.  Needs may arise slowly and can be addressed as they come up while other situations will require a complete overhaul from the start.  An evaluation will determine the needs of your loved ones in comparison with the space.  This way a plan can be drawn up in order to create a safe and sufficient space. As your loved one ages it is in their best interest to start adding remodeling that favors aging in place.  This is a suggestion to broach with compassion, care and understanding.  Many older loved ones don’t like to face the fact they are aging and might eventually not have the mobility they see in themselves currently.
Some simple safety modifications are;
·         Extra lighting is always a good investment.  It is especially important at night when visibility is low.  Motion lighting is readily available and is helpful for those using walkers who are using their hands to maneuver.
·         Rugs are incredibly common in bathrooms.  For people who are aging they are incredibly dangerous and easy to get caught up in.  Remove them for their safety.  Use an anti-slip mat for the exit of the shower to avoid slipping on tile.  A texture tile is now available and can help prevent the slick surfaces that tile normally represent.
·         Faucets are another area of concern.  Make sure to remove hard to turn faucets in favor of levered ones.  It is also incredibly important to purchase faucets that clearly mark hot and cold.  Many bathroom accidents occur from scalding.  In providing bathroom safety for a senior it is also necessary to check the temperature on the hot water tank.
·         Original toilets can be modified with the addition of a portable high rise seat.  If more permanent modifications can be done it is advisable.  Higher rising toilets can be bought and installed.  Adding safety grab bars to the side and front of the toilet area helps seniors gain their balance.
·         Tub and shower safety is incredibly important.  There are several temporary modifications that can be used and many permanent ones as well.  If the situation calls for budget friendly, temporary solutions tub chairs, transfer benches and grab bars can be installed to promote a safe entrance and exit from the tub.  If more permanent renovations can be done it would be wise to invest in a barrier free entry tub or shower. 
It is easy to enter into a new situation and go overboard with modifications that are unnecessary.  This is why it is important to contact an accessible alterations company to evaluate the situation and recommend necessary adjustments to the area.  This is true for all areas of the home and especially important in the bathroom where many hazards exist for loved ones.