When looking for a home for your elderly relative, it is important to know that some designers outfit their homes specifically with older people in mind.
You have to ask to be certain but you can look through the home to see how things are built with a focus on accommodating the needs of those with limited mobility and other issues that elderly people might have.
Here is a list of the things you should look for when you are walking through a home you are interested in housing a senior:
Table of Contents
Good Lighting in Every Important Area
Bright and abundant lighting is necessary to ensure that the elderly person can see clearly in any area of the home. Each room should have multiple light sources that are easy to reach without too much bending or stretching. There should be no dark corners particularly in entryways, on the outside of the home, in walkways and footpaths, and in the garage. Any stairs should also be well-lit. These includes stairs to the second floor and the basement. Also check the basement for ample lighting.
Bathrooms can be particularly dangerous areas for seniors. The floors here should be non-slip with no loose rugs that can move when wet. There should be grab bars near the sink and toilet allowing the elderly person to use them to lean on or assist in standing. A faucet with a single handed control and a lever is the best option for seniors and the same can be said for the shower head. Given the choice, a hand-held sprayer in the shower is best.
The shower is a key area of focus for the bathroom. A senior ready bathroom will be built based on how elderly people tend to bathe, so the bathroom will get a walk in shower. These allow seniors to sit in the shower as they bathe. If you do not see this type of shower, the house might not be as prepared as needed to accommodate your senior.
There should be ample walking room on at least one side of the bed in the bedroom. And bars should be placed on that side so the senior can use it to lift out of bed. Nightstands should not be too low causing the senior to have to bend too far down. The same is true with any lamps in the room. Finally any built in storage should have drawers that are waist height allowing seniors to put in and take out things easily and without leaning.
Where to Focus in the Kitchen
Kitchens deserve lots of scrutiny as well. Here the floors should be non-slip with no loose rugs. A garbage disposal should be able to be disengaged because it is a hazard. All appliances should have easy to read on and off switches. There should be a fire extinguisher handy and wide enough walking space so the senior can turn around with something in his hands and not run into anything in the kitchen. A microwave should be available as the primary cooling tool.
The need for a safe living environment for elderly people cannot be overemphasized. And as they age more, you will have to take another look at their living environment to make additional modifications that keep them safe.