Most people would agree that our home is our sanctuary, and the exterior of our home is just as important as the inside. There’s nothing better than a stroll through the garden, or sitting on the patio enjoying the mid-day sun.
BUT, as we get older, certain things that we once found effortless become more difficult. A leisurely walk around the house can become challenging, and even dangerous if we fall.
So, it’s essential to make updates to our homes to accommodate our changing needs and to help prevent falls.
In this article, we’ll discuss six modifications that senior homeowners can make to their outside space so that they can continue to live in their homes safely and independently.
“Aging gracefully means being flexible, being open, allowing change, enjoying change, and loving yourself.”
– Wendy Whelan –
1. Install Handrails
Handrails are a must-have, especially if there are steps leading up to the front door or porch. Falling is especially dangerous for seniors, so handrails make it easier to maintain balance while navigating steps.
Handrails should be sturdy, secure, and easy to grip. They should also extend beyond the top and bottom steps to provide support at transitions.
2. Zero-Step Entrance
A zero-step entrance is an entryway with no steps or thresholds, making it easier for anyone with accessibility issues to enter and exit the home. Adding a ramp or gently sloping walkway can create a zero-step entrance, which is especially beneficial for someone who uses a wheelchair or walker.
There are also “threshold ramps” that are easy to install to help create a zero-step entrance.
3. Motion Sensor Lights
As we age, our eyesight often deteriorates, making it harder to navigate our surroundings in low-light conditions. Consider installing motion-sensor lights around the outside of your home to improve visibility and reduce the risk of falls.
Motion Sensor Lights come in a variety of styles and brightness levels that will suit your outside decor.
4. Add Non-Slip Surfaces
Wet and slippery walkways and stairs are major causes of slips and falls for seniors. Adding non-slip surfaces to your exterior pathways can help reduce the risk.
There are many types of non-slip coatings, rubber mats, or abrasive strips on the market that will create a slip-resistant surface.
5. Change the Door Handles
Opening doors can be a difficult task if one has weakened grip strength or mobility issues. Installing lever-style door handles is an excellent way to make life easier for seniors.
Lever style-handles require less strength and dexterity, and come in a range of designs to match any home decor.
6. Maintain your Landscaping
Overgrown bushes, trees, and other plants can obstruct pathways, making it difficult to navigate when you’re outside. Make sure to trim back any overgrown plants that obstruct your walkways or pose a security risk.
Also consider replacing high-maintenance plants with low-maintenance options that require less care and attention.
Using these tips, you can reduce the risk of falls and improve your overall safety and well-being at home. With a few Aging-in-Place modifications, you can enjoy the outside space of your home, for many years to come.
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- If you would like more Aging In Place tips, here is another blog that may interest you: Creating a Safe and Accessible Hallway: Tips for Senior Homeowners