Cindy Lin, Founder, Staged4more

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4 Tips to Make Your Home More Senior Friendly

4 Tips to Make Your Home More Senior Friendly

4 Tips to Make Your Home More Senior Friendly | Staged4more.jpg

Senior-friendly improvement projects support the health and well-being of all tenants and buyers. They can help those sellers who want to sell their homes and target the senior population. The beauty of it is that tweaks and improvements also tend to enhance the value of your property. Therefore, it is a win-win. 

To reap the benefits, first, assess your current environment. Pay close attention to danger zones like stairs and bathrooms. Figure out upgrades that make senior’s life easier and do not blow your budget in the process. Take safety and comfort to the whole new level. 

Accessibility and Ease of Movement

In a nutshell, a thoughtful design should address the specific needs of aging people, such as ease of mobility and fall prevention. 

It would be wise to start with particularly perilous areas. When it comes to stairs, for instance, you can do quite a lot to mitigate the risk. Repair uneven and broken stairs and install handrails on both sides. Add non-slip flooring and contrast strips for better visibility. Note that although building codes prescribe minimum height and depth of the stairs, these dimensions could still hinder movement of the elderly. 

In general, trips and falls account for the bulk of home injuries. Keep an eye on slippery and loose surfaces like carpets and moist floors. Make certain there are no sharp edges, corners, and obstacles that increase the chances of tripping. Deal with clutter and facilitate a free flow of traffic. Likewise, do some rearranging: leave ample space around the furniture and in common areas. These common staging techniques go a long way. 

Pain Points 

Do not make the mistake of overlooking the exterior of the home. It can turn potential buyers away before they even step inside. So, you want to make a good first impression as they approach your home. Barrier-free entryways are a great way to do this and they enable even those in wheelchairs to gain access inside. Along similar lines, see if you need to repave the pathway into the home to render is smooth and even. Bear in mind that non-step entries and thresholds are the preferred solutions.

Next, turn your attention to bathroom designs. These rooms are particularly notorious areas for those with restricted mobility as places where many slips and falls occur. A bathtub is one of the main problems, so see if you can install a walk-in shower instead. For extra safety, mount grab bars on shower walls and add a shower stool or bench. Slip-resistant flooring also helps as people get out of the shower. A complete bathroom remodel is a smart investment, but in case it is not an option, take advantage of these smaller upgrades. 

In A New Light 

Adequate lighting is one of the essential elements of a senior-friendly home. 

Motion-sensor lights are an ideal solution as they illuminate the area only when somebody is near. They make things like late bathroom trips much less hazardous. So, install them around the entryway, stairwell, hallway, and exterior of the house. I took advantage of the services of this Sydney electrician to ensure everything was working like a charm at my grandparents' place. After all, amateurs should always be cautious when going DIY with wiring as it bears a significant fire and injury risk. 

Finally, remember that there are many other small and affordable changes that make a big difference for senior citizens. Standard round door knobs are not the easiest to handle, are they?  Well, replace them with door levers or handles that anyone can effortlessly grip and turn. Integrate open shelving design in the kitchen. Implement home automation safety features like smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. 

And if your target audience is by any chance tech-savvy, you can increase the appeal of the home with app-enabled features like smart locks.  

Friendly by Design

From senior-friendly bathroom fixtures to simple updates and conveniences, there are many ways to attract and delight the older population. Beyond everything else, you have to design your property to accommodate their everyday wants and needs. To get the ball rolling, assemble a list of features that cater to them and focus on those that also boost the value of the property. 

Provide stability and support against falls and illuminate the space. Increase accessibility and eliminate the need for bending, crouching, and other treacherous maneuvers. Following the steps above, you should be able to spark interest, increase asking price, and enable buyers to envision themselves living in your home. 

Contributor bio: Will Sandford is a Sydney based wood architect, blogger and contributor on interior design and ecology blogs. Besides that, he is also interested in home improvement combined with green technology. In his spare time, Will enjoys surfing and rock climbing. He is also a regular contributor to SmoothDecorator. Connect with him on Twitter as @WillSandford1.
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