Home Design Tips for Long-Term Care: How to Make a Home Safe and Comfortable for Older Adults

Making a home safe and comfortable for your older loved one is vital to their safety. You can create an environment that promotes independence and well-being, enhancing the quality of life for your loved ones.

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Home Design Tips for Long-Term Care: How to Make a Home Safe and Comfortable for Older Adults
3 Min Read August 2nd, 2023

In the United States, over 40 million adults provide unpaid care to an older adult. This care can range from help with everyday tasks, such as bathing and dressing, to more complex care, such as providing medical assistance. In the U.K., an estimated 6.5 million adults provide unpaid care to an older adult. In Canada, an estimated 4.3 million adults provide unpaid care to an older adult.

According to the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, there are an estimated 15.3 million paid caregivers in the United States in addition to unpaid caregivers. There are over 1.3 million paid caregivers in the U.K and an estimated 750,000 paid caregivers in Canada.

The number of older adults receiving long-term health care in their homes is expected to grow in the coming years. Deciding to care for a loved one at home is a significant commitment that often requires rethinking the design of your loved one's living space. When considering home care, comfort, safety, and accessibility should be the top priorities. 

Home design for long-term care is about more than just aesthetics. It's about creating a supportive environment that can accommodate your loved one's needs, reduce the risk of accidents, and promote a sense of well-being. Understanding how design principles can be applied to this unique situation will aid in making appropriate adjustments and modifications that enhance their daily living experience.

Incorporating Natural Light and Fresh Air

Natural light and fresh air are vital to health and well-being, and their importance is amplified in a long-term home care environment. Installing roof windows is an effective way to improve both light and ventilation within the home. 

Ample daylight can uplift mood, improve sleep patterns, and reduce the need for artificial light, saving energy. Meanwhile, proper ventilation aids in maintaining air quality, reducing the risk of respiratory issues, and creating a more comfortable living space. See the Roof Window Outlet for more information on roof skylights and windows, and complete support at every stage of the process. Roof skylights from Roof Window Outlet provide a visual connection to the outside world, promoting mental well-being by easing feelings of confinement and isolation.

Modifying Home Layout for Mobility Assistance

Ensuring easy navigation around the house is critical to home design for long-term care. This involves considering the mobility needs of your loved one and making necessary modifications to facilitate smooth movement. Wider doorways, for example, can accommodate wheelchairs or walkers. Hallways and rooms should be clutter-free and spacious enough for easy maneuverability. 

Installing handrails or grab bars in necessary areas such as hallways, bathrooms, and bedrooms can significantly improve safety. Consider the location of essential items and utilities, ensuring they're within easy reach. Thoughtful design adjustments like these will make daily tasks more manageable, providing comfort and independence.

Creating a Calm and Healing Atmosphere

Furniture selection and arrangement are crucial in creating a calming and healing atmosphere for long-term home care. Be sure to opt for comfortable, sturdy, easy-to-clean pieces that combine functionality and style. 

Ensure seating is at an appropriate height and has adequate support, especially if your loved one has mobility issues. Carefully placed tables for easy reach, non-slip rugs for added safety, and soothing colors can all contribute to a peaceful and relaxing environment. Consider including personal and familiar items in the space, like cherished photographs or favorite books. They can provide a sense of normalcy and comfort, enhancing mental well-being during this period of care.

Adapting a home for long-term care is a process that requires careful thought and planning. With the right design decisions, you can create an environment that not only meets practical needs but also enhances the well-being of your loved one. 

From incorporating natural light with roof windows to selecting the right furnishings, every detail contributes to making the space more comfortable and conducive to care. Remember, the goal is to balance aesthetics with functionality and safety, creating a home that fosters independence, peace, and quality of life.

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Editor's Note

As people age, their risk of injury at home increases. This is due to several factors, including vision, hearing, and mobility changes. Additionally, older adults with dementia may be more likely to wander or become confused, which can put them at risk of injury.

Not that you look forward to these challenges, but aging happens, and you should be realistic about how you and your family will handle these problems when you experience them decades from now. 

Several hidden dangers at home can be dangerous for older adults. These dangers can be difficult to see, and they can often be overlooked. Some of the most common hidden dangers include:

  • Loose rugs and carpets: Loose rugs and carpets can be a tripping hazard, especially for older adults with difficulty walking.
  • Uneven surfaces: Uneven surfaces, such as steps or thresholds, can also be a tripping hazard.
  • Electrical cords: Electrical cords can be a trip hazard, and they can also be a fire hazard if they are not adequately secured.
  • Sharp objects: Sharp objects, such as knives and scissors, can be dangerous if not properly stored.
  • Falling objects: Objects that are not adequately secured, such as pictures or lamps, can fall and injure an older adult.
  • Toxic substances: Toxic substances, such as cleaning products and medications, can be dangerous if they are not properly stored.

Taking steps to make a home safe for an older adult is essential. This includes:

  • Removing or securing any loose rugs or carpets.
  • Leveling any uneven surfaces.
  • Securing electrical cords.
  • Storing sharp objects out of reach.
  • Securing falling objects.
  • Properly storing toxic substances.

In addition to making the home safe, it is also important to be aware of the signs of injury in an older adult. These signs can include:

  • Pain: Pain can be a sign of a fall or other injury.
  • Bruising: Bruising can also signify a fall or other injury.
  • Swelling: Swelling can also be a sign of a fall or other injury.
  • Inability to walk or move normally: If an older adult cannot walk or move normally, it could be a sign of an injury.

If you notice any of these signs in an older adult, it is vital to seek medical attention immediately.

Quality home care providers are expensive, and when you need care in the future, you will deserve your choice of quality care services. Since health insurance and Medicare will not pay for most long-term health care, the need for planning now, before retirement, will ensure access to quality care and asset protection while reducing the burden on those you love.

Affordable Long-Term Care Insurance will be a big part of your retirement plan. Most people get coverage in their 40s or 50s. 

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Working with a specialist simplifies the process, offers peace of mind, and increases the likelihood of securing a policy that provides adequate coverage when you need it most.

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You have come to the right place to learn about long-term health care planning, aging, caregiving, health, lifestyle, and retirement planning. Use our resources to help educate yourself.

Finding Quality Long-Term Care for Loved Ones

LTC NEWS has teamed up with Amada Senior Care to provide you with quality in-home care options, including free - no cost or obligation Long-Term Care Insurance claims processing and case management

If a loved one needs in-home care, whether they have LTC Insurance or not, Amada may be your choice for quality care options.

LTC NEWS has these comprehensive guides to help you in your process of finding care for a loved one now:

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