"I'm Living Here Until I Die"

Seniors Living At Home

I have heard it more than once and I'm sure you have too, my parents, in laws and others want to stay in their home if they possibly can as they age. The thought of having to move to a "nursing home" has people shuddering thinking about it. I think that there are some great options now that the world has realized that the baby boomers are ageing and needs places to go. There have been even a few new facilities popping up in London as well as some established one’s remodeling in the Columbus Ohio area. I think the real situation at hand for all of us who have ageing parents are can WE take care of them. Can we make daily trips to make sure they are safe, fed, and happy! If No is the answer, then the obvious situation must be chosen to have them move into a safer situation. For those of us who have ageing parents who REFUSE to leave their home I have come up with several Interior Design tips to keep them safe! It can be done easy and without a lot of fuss, but these issues NEED to be addressed! For the most part, most of the things we will do can be removed once the family member moves on and the home can be sold... updated!

Here is the Checklist of Items I suggest and why.

1- Install Handrails! Identify the doorways in which they use most often. Whether its steps from the garage to the house, going from the back door to the back yard or the front door to the front yard. (As a side note:  I HIGHLY encourage them to get out daily and get some fresh air) So make sure there is a seat on the front porch or back porch or even in the garage! I found this great handrail that attaches to your wall but doesn't need to be attached to the floor/ step. Look at www.holdtightrails.com super easy to install!

2- Install Grab Bars! Grab bars or "Oh Shit Handles" as I call them, need to be placed in showers, outside of showers, and by toilets. Hey, I even like them myself in the shower for my washcloths for my face! It can be super helpful to avoid a fall! 

3- Level the Floors! Eliminate ALL uneven floor surfaces! Some homes have tile to carpet to hardwood and back to carpet. ANY transition strip is just an accident waiting to happen! Seriously!! We are all about keeping the surfaces flat and low upkeep! I love a good LVP (Luxury Vinyl Plank) for this matter. You can get a waterproof LVP and run it from the front door all the way to the back. One consistent surface. It’s not cold, it doesn't require a lot of upkeep, no grout, and is easily cleaned up with any spills. This is a MUST!! I can't stress this enough! In addition... carpet is just a dust catcher and is not healthy to live around unless it is swept constantly. 

NOTE- Eliminate the throw rugs! They are a trip hazard!

4- Pull out Drawers- As humans age, we shrink! We can have trouble reaching things in the kitchen cabinets. What we will do it add the pull-out drawers inside the cabinets, so it makes the access to the back of the cabinet easier. We add pull out shelves for pantries, base cabinets and even lazy susans! 


5- Stairs. We cannot avoid them, but we need to be SUPER CAREFUL with our folks going up and down steps. A chair lift is super helpful!! There are also some companies who will install an elevator in your home too! Talk about super convenient! I am a big advocate of steps with a very low pile dense pad and the carpet installed very tightly around the nose of the steps. I don't like waterfall installs which leave a gap behind the carpet down to the tread. It’s another dust catcher. 

6- Bathtubs/ Showers- To make it easy, its best to eliminate the step to get into a shower. We are now constructing zero entry showers, so the floor is level with the outside floor. The shower floor is slanted to drain the water so it will not get outside the tub. Once again, we need to keep the flooring surfaces pretty level and not create any trip hazards! Another cool tub option is the kind that you sit in and fill up once you are in there. Those eliminate the need to bend over to get in and out! 

7- Faucets- In the Kitchen it is nice to have a pull down or automatic motion sensor faucet. As people age the ability to grip is harder and harder with arthritis in the hands. I love the new motion sensor faucets that just turn on with the wave of a hand. We can get them in any finish and style. I feel like this is a must have in any home really!  Twisting balls for bathroom vanity faucets are harder to work so I suggest the use of faucets that have levers for ease of use.

8- Blinds/ Shades and Draperies- Lets face it. those all get so heavy to work up and down if you are doing them manually! I have had way too many clients with large windows, and they can't move the wood blinds at all. They have given up to staying in the dark. I have the solution! Either Motorized Blinds by Hunter Douglas or we can make them plug in to the nearest electric outlet. Its super easy to work with the click of a button and can go up and down as much or as little at you want! I have seen the technology improve leaps and bounds from even 3 years ago! We also have an electric powered drapery rod system that is awesome! It can handle as much or little weight as we need it too. I recently motorized velvet drapes with a blackout lining. It worked incredible!! 

9- Lighting- Lighting is key to keep all walkways lit and all reading areas bright! Most of the older homes do not have good overhead lighting. It is a shame because light helps lift a mood too. Hallways need nightlights and there needs to be undercabinet lighting for the kitchen. If anything, get a hold of some LED tap lights and place those in areas of concern.

10- Wider doorways- The doorway issue is a big deal if someone ends up in a wheelchair! It is a MUST to get one through. What I also found out is that if you are in the market to put a step-in tub, the wider doorway is a must as well! 

11-Toilet Height- there is nothing worse than a toilet that is so low that it’s hard to stand up! Enter "Comfort Height" Toilets! They are 2" taller than a regular toilet and shorter than a handicap accessible toilet. I replaced all the toilets in my own home with these toilets a few years ago and so happy I did. It makes it so much easier to sit and stand

12- Paint Colors- As we age, our eyes have trouble distinguishing between pastel colors, especially blues and greens. What we want it brighter colors in the home so Seniors' can differentiate between floors, walls, counters, furniture. I would suggest that their "chair" is a brighter color of some sort. That was they don't miss the chair when going to sit down. 

13- Ramp it up! Install a ramp whether it is a small ramp to avoid a step or a long ramp to avoid several steps. There is a specific formula to make the ramp ADA certified so make sure to have the contractor do the appropriate research on the length of the ramp! 

14- Laundry Facilities- First of all if you are having to go up or down steps to do the laundry that is another accident waiting to happen. What I recommend is the laundry facilities are on the same floor as the bedroom. We have converted several closets in hallways to laundry facilities. It helps to have front loading washer and dryers too. If you wonder about venting a dryer there are vent boxes that can be installed inside the home which eliminates the need to vent outside. It is super helpful!


If you are curious about any of the above solutions for your home or someone you know, please give us a call and we can schedule a time to stop out and consult you on the different things you can do in your home! Something can’t be done logistically but some things can! With a little bit of a creative mind (like I have) and a bit of an engineering mind, I can offer solutions you would have never thought of!

Contact us by calling 740-852-6226 opt 3, or "Request A Consultation" on the website! We look forward to helping you and your loved ones stay in PLACE for as long as possible!!