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Keeping our home comfortable and safe as we grow older

oldAs we get older, we may want to make changes to our home to make it more comfortable and possibly safer too. Many people will now spent more time at home since they no longer go out to work and will want somewhere they can enjoy spending longer parts of the day.

Furniture and furnishings

Some of the furniture in the house may have been there a long time, which is not a problem unless there are uncomfortable chairs and beds. It is good to buy the best that can be afforded, and consider chairs with risers to give help in getting up, and maybe with extensions to rest tired legs. Being able to relax in comfort will conserve energy. A trolley may be helpful to carry food from the kitchen to where it is to be eaten. A table by a favourite chair can be good place for putting items such as books, magazines and a drink.

Getting around
If mobility is impaired, it’s important that floor coverings are checked. A carpet coming up at the corner or a tear in a lino covering could cause someone who is unsteady to trip and fall. Replace light bulbs with brighter ones to make the home safer for moving around; focused lighting is useful in places used for reading and other activities needing good vision.

It’s important that elderly people keep exercising as long as they are able to. The NHS has devised exercises that can be done by someone sitting in a chair and which will help improve strength, co-ordination and balance.

In the Kitchen
Storage in the kitchen may mean reaching up to high shelves or bending down low. It’s a good plan to have everything that is used regularly within easy reach. Shelves that can only be reached by standing on a small step ladder may have to be abandoned altogether to ensure safety, while there are pull-out fittings for cupboards which make reaching items stored at the back much easier.

Contact with the outside world
Almost everyone has a telephone, and it is easy to install an extra phone in the bedroom. For someone requiring more security, a personal alarm may be the next step. This ensures a response if someone is taken ill and not able to get to the phone. Click here for everything you need to know about personal alarm systems.

It is important that as we age, we feel safe and comfortable at home, and that we consider changes and adaptations that could help us. It may be something small such as replacing the bed with one that is higher and easier to get into, or moving pans into an easier cupboard. On the other hand we may want to make bigger changes such as installing rails at the front door and by the bath and from a security point of view, a house alarm gives peace of mind.

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