As the years roll by, we all experience different challenges. Unfortunately, some of those obstacles shape not only the way we live but the places we live as well. Yet challenges were made to be met, and there are a number of ways you can prepare your home to be the comfortable living space you know it can be. Of course, assisted living communities will have a lot of these needs covered- placing safety bars in showers, for example – but there are definitely a few steps seniors should take to make their own space safe.
Keep the space bright
It seems like such a small thing, but keeping a clean, well-lit apartment makes all the difference in the world. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention one in four Americans over the age of 65 will experience a slip and fall each year, and poor visibility is a major contributor to that statistic. The last thing you want is to trip over something you didn't see on the floor because the hallway is too dim, so fill any potentially dark spots with lighting solutions to protect yourself and any visitors you may entertain.
Secure any rugs or runners in the apartment
While we're prepping the apartment to reduce slips and falls, it's a good idea to invest in rug padding or grippers to prevent any floor coverings from sliding out from under you. This is particularly important if your home has tile or hardwood flooring, but even if your home is carpeted you'll want to secure any additional floor coverings just to be safe.
Keep high-traffic areas clear
The layout of your home will definitely affect the placement of your furniture, but you should also keep your own mobility in mind when devising a floor plan. Avoid creating obstacles in hallways or well-worn paths. That end table may look beautiful next to your arm chair, but if it blocks your path to the bathroom, you may need to find another space for it. Think of the rooms you spend the most time in (your bedroom, the living room, the kitchen, etc.) and be sure they can be easily navigated.
Stay in reach
This may seem like a no-brainer, but when you're organizing your items – particularly in the bathroom and kitchen – keep frequently used items within easy reach. You don't want to strain your shoulders while searching for a snack or some toothpaste, so keep your own mobility in mind when setting up your living space. This can mean investing in open shelving or using Lazy Susans to make items in the back of cabinets more easily reachable.
If you are moving into an assisted living community, be sure to speak with the staff about the layout of your living area to make sure your preferences are heard. It's important to be safe, but it's just as important to feel at home in your surroundings.