Other changes inside and out
Outside the house and between stories
- Ramps. If there are steps leading to the entrance to your home, can she handle them? If not, you may need to put in a ramp. They start at about $400 for a 4-foot ramp that's 36 inches wide; an 8-foot ramp is about $800. Do a search using the keywords home ramp.
- Chair lifts. If you can't put her on the first floor and she doesn't do well with stairs, consider an electric stair-climbing chair lift. They generally cost between $1,500 and $4,000. Another option is a home elevator or a platform lift to take her up and down. The cost of home elevators varies widely, but you can expect to pay $15,000 or more. You can find more information by searching the keywords stair lifts or home elevators.
In the bathroom
- Grab bars and adhesive strips. Grab bars in the tub or shower and beside the toilet will help her lift and lower herself. These are inexpensive ($40 to $140), and they're potential lifesavers when it comes to preventing falls. Low-cost no-slip adhesive strips decrease the risk of slippery bathroom areas and steps. Other bathroom additions to consider:
- Walk-in bathtub. These roundish tubs have a door that opens so she doesn't have to step over the side to get into the tub. Do a search for these by typing walk-in bathtub.
- Bath lift. A person sits in this tub-level chair and uses a waterproof remote to lower herself into the tub. The chair then raises her back up after the bath. Some models recline and have other features ($500 to $2,000).
- Anti-scalding devices. These inexpensive devices (about $40) automatically turn off the water if it gets too hot. They can easily be installed in the bathroom sink, shower, tub, or kitchen sink. An alternative solution: Turn down the thermostat on your hot-water heater so the water never gets above 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
In the bedroom
- Temperature controls. An older adult may like it a lot warmer than the rest of the family. To keep everyone comfortable and your utility bills under control, it's best to have a separate thermostat in her bedroom. If that isn't feasible, a portable space heater may keep her comfortable.