How (you wonder) could electrical upgrades assist aging in place? You might be surprised. Eventually, everyone needs to think about how to best prepare for aging, whether for their parents or themselves. So, what can you do to make a home more age-friendly?
With all the changes that aging can bring, like health issues, mobility issues, loneliness, and more, the desire to remain in one’s home is still a goal for many. Here are a few tips to make your home, or a parent’s, both safe and convenient as the years march on.
Look at the Home's Layout and Systems
Some of the more apparent needs of a senior-friendly home might be obvious.
- Can you eliminate the need for stairs?
- Are the doorways wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair if one is needed?
- Are your steps steadier on a carpet or a hard floor?
- How about your countertops and stove? Do they need to be lowered?
- How is the lighting?
- Are there enough GFCI outlets and are they conveniently located?
- Is there a good way to monitor a loved one's safety and health from a distance?
It’s a good idea to consider some of these upgrades before you need them. That way, you can plan and do things in phases for more convenience. Lining up contractors and suppliers can be a little tricky, so sooner is always better than later.
Do You See What I See?
Lighting might be one of the most critical features of your age-friendly design. As we age, vision can deteriorate, and any obstacle can lead to a dangerous fall. Planning a new lighting scheme can help more than you realize.
While beautiful lamps are a lovely addition to your décor and may be necessary for some instances, having greater control over the overhead lighting can eliminate the need for lamps and cords. What is known as ‘smart’ technology adds a new layer of safety to an older person’s home in several ways.
- Change out your lightbulbs to LED bulbs. Changing a burned-out bulb generally requires a step ladder or chair to climb on to reach the ceiling. The potential for falling makes this a dangerous move for an older person. LED bulbs can last for years and eliminate the need to change them frequently.
- Replace your light switches with smart switches (and dimmers) that can turn on and off with a simple app, allowing you to adjust the lights for safety, power savings, and even home security. Set the lights to turn on or off on a timer basis or manually, including voice activation. Dimmer switches provide low light for TV watching or nightlights. Setting certain lights to turn on or off when no one is home avoids the appearance of an empty house.
- Smart home technology can also include video cameras accessible by an app on your phone or a loved one’s phone. With video cameras providing real-time views, reduce the worry of someone falling and not being found for a long time.
- Senior protective alarms can also be connected to your smart technology, alerting help with the touch of a button. Program medication and meal reminders into Alexa or Google, and never worry about losing track of those again.
These are just a few tips to consider implementing to make your home much safer and more comfortable for anyone aging in place. Why not get started with updating your smart home now? Wilcox Electric can help. Get in touch with us today for advice or recommendations and installation assistance.