21 January 2020
With the rising cost of care homes, a popular alternative to ensuring a loved one is well looked after in later life is to move them into the family home.
Of course there are positives to this arrangement, such as being able to spend more time together as a family. But with multi-generational homes on the up, it’s important that you’re able to find a balance between a loved one living as independently as possible, and also having an arrangement that helps to minimise the negative factors that can be involved such as fatigue and stress .
Luckily, when it comes to adapting your home for an elderly parent, there are many options available that aren’t intrusive and will help to make daily life easier.
This comprehensive guide offers considerations towards what you can do to improve a loved one’s safety in your home, whether they have a disability or are simply of an age where they require a little assistance.
It’s important to minimise the chance of accidents in the home if you have an elderly parent moving in, and the majority of accidents occur in the bathroom. Luckily, there are plenty of adaptations which help ensure your bathroom is safe and accessible.
Covering both bathing and showering there are a range of solutions available that can be incorporated to improve a loved one’s safety without compromising on style.
We all love a relaxing soak, but as we get older it can be hard to get out of the bath safely. With a wide range of accessible baths now available, it can be difficult to know which bathing solution best suits your loved-one’s requirements. The below options provide an accessible alternative to traditional baths, but won’t look out of place in a regular family bathroom.
Easy Access baths typically consist of walk-in and specialist power-assisted baths for the disabled.
Walk-in baths consist of an easy access door that allows users to enter in and out of the bath at a lower level. They also include thermostatically controlled taps, a slip-resistant bath base and optional built-in or rise and fall seat. We also recommend the installation of grab rails for additional support.
We recommend this bathing solution for those who are disabled and or have limited mobility. There is a range of power assisted bathing options available including height adjustable rise & fall baths and automatic power assisted transfer seats.
Read this article to find out more about walk-in baths and how much they cost.
Shower installation has grown in popularity over the years as a practical alternative for people who want to future-proof their suites, particularly those that are finding traditional bathing increasingly difficult.
There are several shower solutions available to meet the needs of any multi-generational home, including:
Accessible wet floor showers maximise showering space by turning your bathroom floor into a wet floor shower. They consist of a solid shower screen.
Level access showers for the elderly consist of a level access shower tray and a range of door openings, dependent on the user’s mobility.
Mobility wet rooms maximise showering space by turning your entire suite into a shower room.
Additional safety features also include the installation of non-slip flooring, grab rails, optional fold away or fitted seats and showers with colour contrasting temperature controls.
The average cost of shower installation can range from £5,000 to £8,000.
As one of the most used sanitaryware items in any bathroom, we are often asked which toilets are best for those who want to improve safety for an elderly loved one.
There’s a variety of WC options available including:
These toilets are taller in height than traditional WCs. They make sitting and getting up off the toilet easier for those who struggle to bend.
Best suited for those with very limited mobility, height powered toilets are available as tilt powered height or full rise powered height. They adjust to help users to get on and off the toilet seat.
A smart solution for all, these remote or button controlled
toilets clean and dry the user’s intimate area with water and air.
If you're looking for a temporary bathroom adaptation toilet lifters are a popular option, they are fitted over your existing WC to assist those who struggle to bend at the hip or knee without making any permanent toilet adaptations.
If you need to adapt your home for a less-abled user, there are two main bathroom basin options available for those with limited mobility.
These basins adjust to suit the height of the user. They are a great option for those who are adapting their multi-generational home for elderly parents to move in.
These basins are fixed to a lower height and are wider in size than traditional basins.
There is also a variety of easy-turn, infra-red and electronic taps that can be installed with these basins, providing additional safety for the user.
Alongside the adaptations mentioned above you can also add additional safety features that are both stylish and add to the overall safety when adapting your bathroom for disabled or elderly guests.
Assisting with independence, wall boards are a low maintenance wall covering that is available in a wide range of colors, patterns and designs.
They are durable and easy to clean, as unlike with tiling they don’t have grout lines.
Anti-slip vinyl flooring also known as nonslip vinyl helps to prevent slips for the elderly due to its textured surface.
Due to its rise in popularity, anti-slip vinyl flooring is now available in a variety of colours and finishes that adds to the overall design of your bathroom in addition to your bathroom safety.
Adapting your bathroom for an elderly parent doesn’t stop you from having a stunning bright and airy bathroom.
Light colour schemes including beiges, creams and whites can make rooms feel like a fresh and spacious sanctuary. Whilst greys and darker colors can make bathrooms feel more modern and contemporary.
As mentioned throughout this article grab rails can be added throughout your bathroom to help support with mobility and independence. If this is something you plan to install consider contemporary waved grab rails that can add style to any bathroom.
Grab rails can be both a permanent and temporary bathroom adaptation. You can find out more in our bathroom grab rails buying guide here.
Whether you have elderly parents moving in or are adapting your home for a disability there are several improvements that can be made to your kitchen to make it safer and more accessible to use.
Due to the nature and use of this room there are hazardous risks that, without precautionary measures, can cause serious harm and injury.
Some core kitchen adaptations include:
> Incorporation of easy-grip solutions and slip-resistant flooring to help to avoid any slips or falls.
> Design-led layout solutions which would ensure everything is accessible and reachable from a sitting position if required
> Addition of rise and fall and wheelchair accessible units allowing safe use of cabinets at a suitable height, great for a multi-generational home.
> Inclusion of colour aided designs for those with visual impairment as well as designs that overcome cognitive conditions.
Significant adaptations such as the installation of rise and fall units can cost an between £2,000 to £5,000 depending on size.
Alongside the bathroom and kitchen, adapting around and outside of your home is also important for any elderly user.
Door and walkway widening
The doors and walkways in your home can be widened to create extra space for wheelchair access. Although it is a big project, widening helps to reduce movement restrictions for wheelchair users.
Access ramps and floor levelling
Installation of ramps and floor levelling in and outside of your home allows members of the family to go in and out at leisure without the requirement of assisted support.
If you have elderly parents moving in, installing a stair lift or through-floor lift can help to avoid the risk of a slip or fall when entering different floors within your home.
A cheaper alternative is to install an additional handrail to your current stairs. This will provide support on both sides of your steps. Similarly, if you have stairs leading up to your front door, installing an extra handrail might be necessary.
An adaptation that many forget to consider is lighting. Outside the home, consider installing an electric light to help avoid trips when it’s dark. There are several small lighting changes that can be made around the home including motion sensor lighting, which will turn on automatically when you enter a room.If your parent is a wheelchair user, lowering light switches is a sensible adaptation.
Low mobility threshold doors
Low threshold doors create a low step over when your door is open, a practical option for wheelchair users and or those who struggle with mobility.
With a wide range of options available, the cost of taking care of elderly parents at home or adapting your home for a disability can vary depending on the scale of work required.
Smaller adaptations that will provide extra support without minimal change e.g. the addition of grabs rails and a toilet lifter will be considerably cheaper than a full bathroom and kitchen renovation.
VAT free supply and installation and additional funding is available for home adaptations for the disabled and or have a physical condition. There is also a 5% VAT scheme for those over 60.
Check out this article for more information on VAT and potential funding and grants available.
At More Ability, we specialise in house adaptations, ensuring your house is safe without compromising on style. Whatever the problem you hope to overcome you can rest assured there will be a solution available that will meet your specific wants and needs.