What can I do to make my home future-proof?
If you’re an older homeowner, you probably want to live independently in your own home for as long as you can. Here are some tips that may help.
Front and back door
Install outside lighting by the front or back door
Consider installing Motion detector lights outside your front or back door. They turn on automatically when someone approaches the door. Besides being convenient, good outside lighting makes your home more secure.
Lower thresholds at front and back door
High thresholds can be an obstacle for people using a wheelchair or rollator. You can solve the problem of thresholds higher than 4cm by installing a ramp, or you can make a ground-level entrance to your house. The lower the height difference, the safer.
Windows, sun blinds and air vents must be easy to operate
Ideally, a window handle should be between hip and shoulder height (between 90 and 120 cm from the floor). This makes it easy to open and close the window. If the window handles are too high up, you could have them adjusted. A cord or rod can also be installed to open or shut air vents at the top of windows.
Lower or remove door thresholds between rooms
Door thresholds between rooms are easy to trip over, and increase the likelihood of falls. For maximum safety, all indoor thresholds should be level with the floor. This also makes your home easier to clean. However, it may not be possible to remove the door threshold for technical reasons. In such cases, it’s a good idea to smooth off the edges so that they present less of an obstacle.
Install single-handle tap
A single-handle mixer tap or lever tap is the easiest type of tap to operate.
Avoid having to bend down to get pots and pans
Install drawers instead of cupboards for storing your pots and pans. This makes it easier to get at them.
Toilet and bathroom
Use non-slip tiles
You can treat the floors in your bathroom and toilet with a non-slip coating. Whatever floor you use, it should not become slippery when wet.
Use a thermostatic mixer tap in the bathroom
A thermostat ensures that the water remains at a constant temperature, even when someone else in the building turns a tap on. The standard temperature for a shower or bath is 38 degrees Celsius, but you can set the thermostat higher or lower if you prefer.
Toilet on the same floor as the bedroom
If there is no toilet on the same floor as the bedroom, consider having one installed on that floor, if there is sufficient space. Then you won’t have to go down or up the stairs to visit the toilet at night.
Install second handrail
If there’s a handrail on only one side of the stairs, consider installing one on the other side as well. It will make your staircase safer and easier to use.