To help enhance the safety and comfort of a senior visitor, especially one who may have some of the physical challenges that come with aging, here are a few quick and inexpensive things you can do to make the time less stressful for you and more comfortable for your guest:
Consider pathways in the house. Clear obstacles, and maybe even move furniture that a person usually has to maneuver around. Move any electrical cords that are where a person might walk – perhaps taping them to a wall or using a hook. Clear stairs of any objects – shoes, books, and other personal items – that tend to collect on the lower treads. Also check that railings on stairs inside and out are secure, and make repairs where needed.
Lighting is crucial. Put night lights in bathrooms, the guest bedroom, any hallways near the guest bedroom, and perhaps in the kitchen. Make sure there is a lamp or light switch within easy reach of the guest bed so your visitor can keep a light on until safely tucked in.
Be sure the shower your guest will use has a non-slip floor. To enhance the traction, apply non-slip strips or a suction-attached non-slip mat. Secure or, preferably, remove any throw rugs, including bathroom mats. Edges of rugs can be a tripping hazard, and even a slight scoot can affect a person’s balance.
Identify seating in your gathering rooms that is appropriately firm, high in the seat, and preferably that has arms to help a person easily sit down and get up. A chair that is too soft or too low to the ground can strand a person awkwardly.
If you are considering other more long-term home modifications for aging in place, be sure to consult a remodeler or contractor who has the experience and references for this type of work.
For more information, contact the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit nahb.org/forconsumers.
Terry Greene is the executive officer of the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga (HBAGC). In that role, he’s responsible for the day-to-day management and operation of HBAGC and its 400-plus members.