Older adults looking to age in place need a senior-friendly bedroom. Remodeling the bedroom to make it liveable for the elderly isn’t cumbersome. You just have to give up the aesthetics and go for functionality.
Several types of aging-in-place furniture are available for remodeling a bedroom. This guide will look at some of the best bedroom remodeling ideas for aging in place.
Why Should a Senior Citizen Redecorate Their Bedroom?
About three in four retirees opt to age in place rather than move to an assisted living home. Older adults might experience mobility issues as they age. Homeowners with arthritis or Parkinson’s disease might lose their balance over time.
For this reason, remodeling the bedroom to meet the various health needs of the elderly is essential.
Older homeowners are prone to hidden dangers such as slippery floors and high step-in thresholds in the bathroom.
Seniors with mobility challenges might find it difficult to navigate within the bedroom. If a bedroom’s door isn’t wheelchair accessible, then remodeling it would be necessary.
8 Safety Upgrades for Senior-Friendly Bedrooms
Some upgrades are pricey, while others won’t cost you much. Here are a few remodeling ideas that are perfect for senior living.
1. Senior-Friendly Flooring
The flooring material you choose must be non-slip. It would allow an older adult to walk independently without worrying about falling. If a senior member of your family trips and falls, the flooring material should provide enough cushioning to reduce the impact.
- Carpet: Carpeting the floor offers excellent cushioning for seniors in case of falls or slips. The non-slip flooring option is comfortable underfoot and provides insulation against cold. Carpets can accumulate dust and allergens, so they might not be ideal for seniors with respiratory problems. Keep the carpet clean if you’re living with an older adult.
- Laminate floors: Laminate floors are more expensive than traditional hardwood floors but are less difficult to install. They’re simple to clean, and unlike carpets, they don’t accumulate debris or dust. However, you should exercise caution because they share the same safety concerns as hardwood floors.
- Vinyl: If you want a cheaper alternative to hardwood, vinyl is a solid choice. Vinyl floors are durable and don’t need any special care. En-suite bedrooms should have vinyl floors. Because vinyl is moisture resistant, stepping on the floor with wet feet is not an issue. They come in a variety of styles, including non-slip textured ones.
- Cork flooring: Cork floors are very soft, making them ideal for an older person to walk on. Cork is slip-resistant and provides a cushioned surface in the event of a fall. You should only vacuum or sweep a cork flooring. Great care is necessary for unsealed cork flooring since it is easily damaged by moisture and pet scratches.
- Rubber flooring: Aside from having an aesthetic appeal, the flooring material should also be simple. Your décor preferences and budget are two more elements that will impact your buying decision.
2. Replace the Door Handle
Replacing door knobs with a lever latch makes it easy for an older person to turn the door handle. Levers offer a better grip and require less effort to turn than door knobs. Door levers are not only functional; they come in contemporary designs too. You can get one in bronze, copper, or steel finishings.
Lever-operated, push-type, and U-shaped door handles are ADA-compliant. These door handles are easy for people with weak or painful hands, such as those with arthritis.
3. Smart Home Tech
- Smoke detector: smoke detectors alert a homeowner in the case of fire or smoke. It’s advisable to install a smoke detector that also detects carbon monoxide. For an older adult, you want to install a loud one. There are also alarms with vibrations and strobe lights for a hearing or visually impaired senior.
- Smart plug: With a smart plug, an older person doesn’t have to switch electronic devices in the house physically. A smart plug connects to WiFi. Through Alexa or Google Assistant, a senior can turn on the lights, AC, humidifier, kettle, etc.
- Intelligent emergency contact system: An older adult aging in place may not have someone monitoring their health 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Medical alert systems are available as watches or as wall-mounted devices. Mounting one just next to the bed enables older adults to seek help if they don’t feel too well.
- Home security system: Besides surveillance cameras, motion sensors alert older adults in case of a break-in. Using a control panel, they can lock all doors and windows and activate the alarms. Top brands like ADT and Vivint also include voice command in their packages, in case the senior is not so tech-savvy.
- Smart contact sensor: Using a smart contact sensor, an older person gets an alert from a call center in case of smoke, water leak, or security breach. The sensor can also notify a caregiver. If no one responds, the police or fire department is contacted.
- Smart lock: An older person does not have to worry about losing their keys when using smart locks. They can lock or unlock the doors using a remote control. If they fall asleep without locking the doors, you can use your smartphone to lock them. A smart lock also reduces the chances of seniors locking themselves in the bedroom.
- Smart in-wall lights: Motion sensor lights turn on immediately after someone steps out of bed. When placed on the walls, they illuminate all obstacles, reducing the chances of falling. A bedside lamp with a touch switch is also ideal for seniors. Just touching the switch turns the lights on and off.
These smart gadgets should be simple to use for the elderly. You must replace their batteries and test them to ensure they function properly.
4. Home Stair Lift (If Your Bedroom Isn’t Downstairs)
An older person can access their first-floor bedroom with the help of a stair lift. It’s a seat that runs up and down the stairs on a railing. Installing them can be costly, especially for curved stairs. Still, they are safer for an older person than climbing the stairs.
5. Lower the Closet Rods
Older adults may strain to reach for their clothes on standard closet rods. You can opt to fix new closet rods at eye level for easier reach or invest in pull-down closet rods. Automated pull-down closet rods lower clothes to a reachable height using a switch. Pull-down closet rods hold up to 75 pounds of weight. For more storage, you can utilize low shelves and storage baskets.
6. Toilet Riser
Toilet risers attach to a standard toilet using screws. The extra height assists seniors in using the toilet without strain. The addition of arms on the riser increases safety. Seniors with mobility problems use the handles for balance when lowering themselves and getting up from the toilet.
7. Proper Lighting
A senior-friendly bedroom should provide ambient light to allow good visibility. As people age, their vision deteriorates. Lighting levels for older adults should be increased by 50% over younger adults.
However, it should not be too bright. Glare results from too much light entering the eyes, causing discomfort. Invest in dimmable LED bulbs so the older adult can set the illumination level to their liking.
8. Bed Modifications
Getting up from a bed that’s too high or too low can be daunting for seniors, especially those with back pains and arthritis. For the best bed height, an older person’s feet should reach the floor with their knees at a 90-degree angle.
If the bed is not adjustable, you can lower it by cutting the wooden legs or buying a new bed frame.
A high-density mattress provides maximum comfort to seniors and helps with spine alignment. Bed rails are a great addition to a bed.
They provide support when getting up and prevent an older person from falling out of bed.
Seniors’ Bedroom Safety Checklist
When designing a bedroom for a senior, safety should always come first. Here are some tips to ensure bedroom safety for an older person:
- Take out any furniture that blocks the way or has sharp edges.
- Make sure there’s enough lighting all through the room.
- Keep the room organized. Fasten all cables on the wall and store unused cords outside the bedroom.
- Use remote-controlled or voice command devices for communication. You should save emergency contacts on the device.
- Keep the bedroom free of throw rugs and mats to reduce the risk of slipping.
A senior-friendly bedroom is vital for aging in place. Modifying a senior’s bedroom ensures they’re comfortable and content in their private space. For an older adult with a disability, you need to consider their needs when remodeling their bedroom.
Install safety devices like grab bars and widen the doorway for accessibility. The Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF) recommends a bed height of 20–23 inches (measured from the floor to the top of the mattress) with movable legs for wheelchair users.