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    7 wise ways to 'elder proof' your home

    6:30 AM, Jan 10, 2013   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Savvy homeowners with seniors as residents are embracing the practice of "elder proofing" a home.

    In some cases this may require extensive remodeling, but there are many things homeowners can do with just a toolbox, some smart ideas and a weekend.

    Here are seven ways to "elder proof" a home from Yahoo! Homes.

    1. Lighting - As we age, our eyesight tends to deteriorate. One way to prevent dark shadows or gloomy hallways, install low voltage track or recessed lighting that can remain on. Also use nightlights with timers or motion-activation.

    2. Flooring - About 33 percent of adults over 65 fall each year according to the Centers for Disease Control. One thing that can lead to a fall is a throw rug which can fold up and become a trip hazard. It's best if you don't have one at all. Also don't clean tile or vinyl flooring with wax that can make them slippery.

    3. Split level - A lot of older homes have sunken rooms that have steps into a lower room. Try installing handrails down the stairs or raising the floor if you can. Also second floors can prove difficult with the stairs. Stair lifts are effective but can be pricey ($8,000 to $15,000).

    If they are wheelchair bound, a ramp will work. But if their property isn't big enough for a ramp, try and install a vertical platform lift. These go for around $4,000.

    4. Bathroom grips - Install a grab bar can really help someone with limited mobility in the bathroom. Always remember to follow the directions carefully when installing. They have to be efficiently attached to the wall studs to be effective.

    5. Water faucets - The elderly may have trouble turning faucets and shower handle knobs if they don't have the strength. These can easily be replaced with levers. Also water should be no higher than 120 degrees.

    6. Moving around - It can be difficult moving around a home in a wheelchair if the doorways aren't big enough. A contractor can install new frames that will widen bathroom and bedroom doorways.

    7. Outdoors - It's probably best to not advertise that someone with limited mobility lives in a home. Outdoor ramps can be done decoratively as well as efficiently. Also make sure the address is clear and visible, that the porch lighting is clear, and keep a key lock box to let emergency staff or family get access inside.

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