Freelance Contribution by Jessica Walters
After deciding to move your loved one into a nursing home or other assisted living facility, it’s tough for family members not to worry about how the adjustment is going. Even if you have selected a top-rated nursing home in South Carolina, it can still be a difficult process for families to make sure that their loved one has everything he or she needs. Fortunately, there are many simple changes that can be made to a senior citizen’s residents to make life a little easier.
While not all seniors will need to make changes to their new residence, seniors with limited mobility may find that the standard rooms in a nursing home are not easy to navigate and live in. Since mobility is the most common disability in people age 65 and older, with nearly 40% having difficulty walking or climbing, it is imperative that seniors’ spaces in nursing homes are adjusted to being mobility-friendly. When designing an accessible space for seniors, there are certain changes that family members or nursing homes can do to be successful.
Making Updates for Easy Storage
Seniors with limited mobility essentially have challenges completing the tasks that allow them to get through the day, such as walking across a room or getting out of bed. As a consequence of chronic diseases like arthritis or diabetes, limited mobility can lead to impaired strength and little to no balance. This means that it may be difficult for seniors to do things as simple as reaching things in storage or putting needed items away.
Since getting things out of storage and putting things away requires mobility, it is beneficial to adjust a senior citizen’s room in a nursing home to include easy storage. Some improvements that can be made include:
o Hanging shelves, coat or towel hooks, and towel racks lower on the walls
o Put most-used cookware on the easy-to-reach shelves (often the lower shelves)
o Make emergency items (flashlights, first aid kits, fire extinguishers) easy to access
o Install shelves that can be pulled out, instead of having to reach far inside cabinets
There are also many new technological innovations that can ease daily tasks and pains from arthritis, like reach-extenders (claw-like grabbers) and easy can openers or lid-turning gadgets. By researching tools for the home that are designed to ease aches and pains, you can replace all of the items you use on a daily basis with an easier, senior-friendly version. While making these adjustments may not seem like a huge undertaking, it will greatly improve a senior’s independence, giving them the chance to complete small tasks throughout the day more easily.
Installing Additional Modifications to Bathroom
Another area of focus that can be improved for the sake of seniors with limited mobility is the bathroom. While most nursing homes will incorporate easily accessible bathrooms, complete with grab bars along the bathtubs and lowered toilets, there are still other modifications that can be installed to make a senior’s life even easier.
For one, if seniors with limited mobility have the option of renovating their bathroom, it might make sense to install a walk-in shower instead of having a bathtub. This will eliminate the barrier that requires seniors to step over the edge of the tub, which can lead to falls. Depending on the parameters of your renovation, you can also install a bench or seat in the shower so that the senior does not have to stand while bathing. Adding non-slip appliqué to the floor is another great idea for increased safety.
Additionally, one of the most impressive bathroom innovations that has been developed to make seniors lives easier is aging-in-place toilets. Though some models can be quite costly, these toilets are designed to automatically raise and lower the lid, washing areas within the bowl that are hard to reach, and even heat the seat. These toilets are growing in popularity and can improve a senior’s safety when bending down or reaching over to use the toilet.
Upon moving into a nursing home or assisted living facility, there are certain updates that you can make to simplify day-to-day tasks that might be otherwise be difficult for seniors with limited mobility.