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Five ways to make the home more comfortable and safer for retirees

With the onset of older age, ensuring your home is not only comfortable but safe is vital to maintain your independence. This is especially important if you are experiencing changes such as mobility issues, eyesight problems or memory lapses – all of which can turn homes into hazards which can impede enjoyment of daily lives.

Some of our top tips for keeping your home comfortable and safe include:

1. Keep it bright

A well-lit home is welcoming, inviting and safer. Brightly lit entrances and reception rooms provide better visibility and help minimise accidents.

Lighting that simulates daylight not only enables you to see better but has the added benefit of keeping moods more uplifted. Seek advice from your ophthalmologist or optician who may prescribe certain lighting to those suffering macular degeneration or other eye conditions.

Light switches should be easily accessible, especially if you are wheelchair-bound. Motion-sensor lights are particularly effective if you are experiencing difficulty finding or reaching light switches. Installing motion-sensing lights around the windows and doors, not only assists with outdoor visibility but will also help with security in alerting you if something moves.

Nightlights in the bedroom, or the hallway to the bathroom, improve visibility in the dark. Large, two-way rocker switches are also convenient enabling you to control light switches with ease.

2. Rearrange your space

Accessibility is key when you are trying to make your home comfortable and safe.

If you experience difficulty moving, furniture can be arranged in such a way to aid mobility. Placing sturdy pieces of furniture where they can double as support (in areas where you need to stand more often) may be particularly helpful.

Moreover, passages such as hallways should be kept free of obstructions such as electrical cords, which can be secured with cable ties or by tucking them behind furniture.

3. Install user-friendly fittings

Home improvements to make homes safe and comfortable are recommended to enable a stress-free life, free of accidents. These home improvements often have the biggest impact on retirees’ lives. These may include replacing round doorknobs with lever handles, which are easier to grasp, single-handed faucets and bathroom fittings such as a grab bar adjacent to the toilet. Handrails can also be installed close to beds.

Hands-free toilets have automatic washing and drying functions which operate while you are seated. Battery-powered bath lifts support your weight as you get in and out of the bath. There is also the option of baths with side openings, for easy access.

Many older people have difficulty using the stairs with falls being caused by reduced vision, loss of balance or drowsiness. If mobility is an issue, stair lifts may be an option. Everyday appliances such as a hand-held shower may be a better option rather than a fixed one. A foldable seat for the shower will also be a useful addition for those who has difficulty standing up in the shower. A wet room style shower means that you can just walk straight in.

If the entrances to the homes have steps, they may be fitted with ramps to facilitate ease of access for those who have mobility impaired.

4. Slip-proof floors

One of the biggest dangers in the home is slippery floors. These can cause trips and falls, which can be avoided by simply slip-proofing the floors. Applying slip-resistant coatings to the bathroom floor or treating the flooring with a tile-etching acid solution to keep them slip-resistant may provide a significant benefit. Outside paths may also become slippery in winter and can be treated with a light layer of sand to increase traction.

While decorative rugs and mats are aesthetically pleasing, they can pose a safety hazard. Rugs can bunch up or the corners which can create a true danger zone in the home. Skid-proofing rugs and mats or placing them on non-slip carpet pads is a great idea to prevent unwanted accidents. Another option is to tape or tack them down. If stairs are particularly slippery, they should be covered with non-skid treads.

Carpets may be replaced with cushioned non-slip flooring which is easy to clean and enables wheelchairs and walkers to run smoothly and evenly.

5. Use safety devices

Any home should have working smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. If you have mobility issues, a personal fall detection device may also be a good idea. If the home has stairs, a chair lift is highly recommended.

A professional such as an Occupational Therapist or a Physical Therapist can help you assess your home for such dangers. In later years, your safety and comfort in your own home are paramount to living a happy life, free of worries.

Finally, a home safety assessment is recommended which can be done by yourself or with the help of a professional. Don’t leave it too late as often home safety assessments are performed after a fall has already happened.

At LifeCare Residences, our exceptional retirement communities are designed with the optimum safety and comfort of residents in mind.

Apartments have fluid open plan layouts, allowing for easy movement without having to worry about clutter and the possibility of knocking items over. As well as the expected convenience of level thresholds, step-free access and automatic opening doors, doorway widths are designed to accommodate wheelchair access if required.

Kitchens benefit from low-level cabinets and sinks and integrated appliances, such as dishwasher drawers – all of which have been thoughtfully incorporated for ease of use.

Many of the contemporary bathrooms benefit from walk-in showers and baths. They also come equipped with grab rails for extra support.

Safety features include 24-hour emergency call systems, giving residents the reassurance that help is nearby whenever needed.

But with LifeCare Residences it’s not just your apartment that facilitates independence, your living space extends beyond your immediate home to include a wealth of services and communal facilities onsite. Hotel-inspired facilities may include:

• Concierge service

• High-class restaurant

• Cafe

• Bar

• Private courtyard garden

• Library

• Lounge

• Cinema

• Swimming pool

• Spa pool

• Gymnasium

• Billiards room

• Hobbies room

• Chauffeur service

• Minibus service

• Carpool service

• Nursing home

• Guest apartment

One benefit of living in a retirement community is the access to 24/7 care. The dedicated team of professionals at LifeCare Residences is trained to the highest standards and our care services are rated by CQC.

In our pledge to make your life as comfortable and safe as possible, we offer you personalised care, which can be modified to reflect your changing needs. Should you require further help and attention, our expert domiciliary and nursing care team is always on standby. You could not be in safer hands. Domiciliary care is available within the privacy of your apartment. This service is designed to support residents who may require help with activities including personal care, household tasks and any other activity that allows them to maintain their independence and quality of life. Services include:

• Personal care (including assistance with showering/bathing/getting dressed)

• Managing medication

• Assistance with walking or mobilising

• Help with waking / going to sleep

• Household tasks and meal preparation

• Clinical care

Our aim will always be to facilitate your own independence, but we are here to provide a helping hand should it be required (24 hours a day, seven days a week).

At our London retirement community, Battersea Place, we have a fully-staffed nursing wing with 28 suites. Our community in Dorchester, Somerleigh Court, benefits from an onsite nursing home that offers a variety of award-winning care including dementia care.

LifeCare Residences is setting the standards in retirement living, being to go-to choice for retirees. Our communities are truly exceptional places to live, filled with all the comforts your heart desires, underpinned by the reassurance of care if required. Every detail has been considered for your comfort and safety. We offer a level of security, safety and peace of mind that few homes can provide. LifeCare Residences communities facilitate a rich, independent lifestyle, complemented by outstanding care services.

With LifeCare Residences, you may choose from a wide range of living styles to suit your needs and preferences. You will have the opportunity to be involved in community life, socialise with other like-minded individuals and discover new interests.

LifeCare Residences is a renowned retirement community operator with over 30 years of experience in enriching lives. Our commitment is to deliver outstanding care, authentic choice and unrivalled hospitality with facilities of a five-star hotel quality.

Further details can be found on www.lifecareresidences.co.uk or by phoning 0800 009 6950.