Senior Home Safety: How to Modify Accommodations for Comfort and Protection

senior home safety
Many older adults approach the idea of long-term care with trepidation[1. “Seniors Fear Loss of Independence, Nursing Homes More Than Death,” November 12, 2007,] – and understandably so. Though settings such as retirement communities and assisted living facilities have their benefits, nothing can quite compare with one’s own house.
If you’ve discussed the possibility of placement with your loved one, and they are not amenable to the idea, you may be concerned for their safety. After all, as they grow older, it will become more and more difficult for them to take care of themselves and their house. However, there are alternatives that don’t involve moving anywhere. These can be accomplished by making changes to a senior home.

Ways to modify an older adult’s home — and why

Unfortunately, the sad fact is that today’s homes are usually built for a younger, more agile population. The builders assume that everyone is in good health, or able-bodied. However, older adults may have special considerations that mean their houses need modifying.[2. “Home Modifications for the Elderly,”]
Outdoor ramps
If you know someone in a wheelchair, you’re already aware of the trouble they have with stairs. But in an older adult’s case, it’s not only assistive devices (like wheelchairs and walkers) that can make maneuvering stairs a hassle. Certain medical conditions may lead older adults to have problems raising their legs even a few inches above the ground – just the height needed to manage one step. Having an outdoor ramp to their front door can open up a world of freedom for an older adult with mobility issues.
Widened doorways
The doors in most homes are fashioned to accommodate the width of a person’s body, with a little bit of room on the sides. Just like houses with numerous stairs, they don’t take into consideration those with wheelchairs, walkers, and the like. Widening the doorways in an older adult’s home can mean the difference between them coming and going as they please – or staying trapped inside.
Chair lifts
Chair lifts are becoming more popular in senior homes today, and it’s easy to see why. Like ramps that go from the front door to the street, chair lifts open up a whole new world to older adults. They allow the homeowner to reclaim use of their second floor. And they’re not just good for those who lack mobility; chair lifts can work wonders for people suffering from generalized weakness or frailty.
First-floor full bathroom
Most first-floor bathrooms are “half baths,” consisting of little more than a toilet and sink. However, they’re not ideal for those whose only “full baths” (the ones with a tub or shower) are on the second floor. If your loved one doesn’t have a chair lift to reach the full bath, adding a tub or shower to the half bath makes sense. While it’s definitely an investment in terms of time and money, at least it’s easier than adding an entire bathroom!
Grab Bars
While we’re on the subject of bathrooms, make sure your loved one’s has plenty of grab bars, whether they are in the shower, tub, or by the commode. This makes getting in and out of the bathing area easier and safer, and assists with transfers to and from the toilet.
Tub or shower install
Speaking of tubs and showers, an ordinary bath enclosure may not do for your loved one. Many older adults have trouble entering and exiting them even with grab bars. Newer models often come with full-size doors, so that it’s easy to walk right in (and out), especially with a home health aide to lend a hand.

Modifying senior homes can help seniors stay home

The majority of older adults wish to stay in their own home for as long as possible. In addition to hiring visiting home care professionals, modifying senior homes is a great way to help your loved one achieve this goal. Talk to them about some of the issues above, and see how you both can make adjustments that will maximize their standard of living and independence.
If you are unsure of how to best help an aging loved one, the trained and compassionate staff at the Institute on Aging is here to help you make that decision and gain the best in at-home care for older adults. Contact us to find out more.

Institute on Aging

Institute on Aging

Related Posts


Give our dedicated Client Service Specialists a call. We are ready to help.

Follow Us

Three and a half years ago, Maggie Fang started her journey as an Assessment Specialist in the Support at Home Program at IOA. Her excellent people skills enabled her to manage a caseload of older adults and individuals with disabilities, helping them receive homecare to age in place. Maggie was selected to pioneer the Temporary Respite Caregiver Support program, and we are delighted to have such a skilled and dedicated individual leading our newest program at IOA. Thank you, Maggie, for your exceptional work! 

#SocialWorkMonth #WeAppreciateyou #ThankYou #SupportatHome #CaseManager #SocialWorkerAppreciation
Join us at the Adult Day Program at the Enrichment Center as Caregiver Coach Alex shares with us the incredible support and care provided to participants living with dementia. Clients enjoy various engaging activities, from music therapy to art classes, designed to stimulate their cognitive and physical abilities. The skilled staff at the Enrichment Center also provides caregivers with much-needed support and respite, allowing them to take a break and attend to their needs. If you or someone you know is looking for support in caring for a loved one with dementia, the Adult Day Program at the Enrichment Center in the Presidio is an excellent resource for you! 

Learn more by visiting the link in our bio! 

#DementiaCare #EnrichmentCenter #AdultDayProgram #CaregiverSupport #Presidio #Dementia #Memory #Caregiver
At Insitute on Aging, we are committed to attracting and retaining top talent, and we are incredibly fortunate to have Manuel Martinez on our team. With his extensive expertise in housing and community resources, Manuel has been an invaluable asset to our organization. Recently, he was promoted to the role of Assessment Specialist II in our Adults with Disabilities - Home Delivered Meals program. In addition to managing a caseload, Manuel has demonstrated exceptional leadership skills and has become an expert in program management. We are grateful for Manuel's unwavering commitment to IOA and the community we serve. Thank you, Manuel, for your dedication and passion in making a difference in the lives of others. 
#SocialWorkMonth #IOATeam #TopTalent #CommunitySupport #HomeDeliveredMeals #SupportingAdultsWithDisabilities
In honor of #SocialWorkMonth, we're shining a spotlight on one of our exceptional social workers - Patty Myers! 

Patty has dedicated her career and volunteer efforts to support older adults and adults with disabilities in San Francisco. As the Resident Services Coordinator for Institute on Aging's Support in Independent Living program, Patty wears many hats to ensure that the 120+ residents of Martin Luther Towers Senior Housing can age in place comfortably. Her talent for connecting individuals with resources has enabled her to go above and beyond to ensure accessibility and inclusivity for all. Patty's commitment to her work has been unwavering, and we are grateful to have her on our team at IOA. 

#SeniorCare #SocialWork #SupportingTheElderly #SocialWorker #SocialWork #NationalSocialWorkerMonth #Services #Coordinator #Joinourteam