When you begin to think about how to modify a room for an elder, keep in mind that it does not have to be only a hazard free area. You can make subtle changes and the result will be a nice, safe and comfortable room which does not look elderly. No one thinks of himself as being old.
Keeping Clutter to a Minimum
The rooms used mainly by elders must be clutter free, with stable furniture, without sharp edges and positioned in low traffic area; also these rooms must have good light. Don’t use chairs or heavy armchairs in the bedroom.
Creating Easy Access to Beds for the Elderly
The bed is a frequently used area in the bedroom. A big problem for every older adult is getting on and off the bed because their common height is inadequate. To solve this problem, you have a few options: you can add another mattress, add bed extensions, place the bed on elevation blocks or buy an adjustable height bed. Never use water beds. Fairly firm mattresses are the best choice for elders.
Bathroom Safety for Elderly
Many accidents in the bedroom are caused by difficult access to utilities. Older adults require bathroom usage more often than people of other ages. The bathroom must be near the bedroom and no obstacles or furniture should restrict the access to its door aged care. Night-lights should be installed on the way to the bathroom. It’s also a good idea to have a portable toilet or a urinal in an end table by the bed.
Convenient Phone Access in Bedroom
Other frequently used objects are: a phone (preferably cordless) or an emergency response system and a cane or a wheel chair. The phone is more than just a way to seek help. It also brings a nice feeling of security for the owner, especially if he/she lives alone. The cane or the wheel chair are very useful during the night to avoid accidents caused by dizziness.
In the bedroom at least one light source must be easy to reach. We recommend a bedside lamp or a reading lamp and a flash light (do not use candles!). Another very good option to solve the lighting problem is a remote control switch.
Many accidents are caused by the bedroom floor. Remove the sliding rugs or secure them to the floor. Try to avoid the usage of throw rugs and make sure the edges of carpets are secure. If you don’t have the floor carpeted, use only nonskid wax or don’t use wax at all.
Furniture Safety Requirements
Almost every bedroom has a chest of drawers. But how can we choose the right one? First check the handles and the doors. You should try to avoid chest of drawers with heavy doors, sharp edges or difficult to grab handles. The doors must open easily, without taking to much effort. Make sure the chest of drawers has easy to reach shelves, drawers and hangers. (Note: Never store heavy object on top of the closet)
The room’s door is a high traffic area. It must be wide enough to allow easy access, especially for wheel chairs. If the owner has vision impairments it’s a good idea to paint the door with a contrasting color.
Older adults are very sensitive to temperature and humidity changes. Keep the bedroom well ventilated and at a constant temperature. To achieve those goals you can install an insulating system and an air conditioner, but keep the bed out of the airflow.