Five fixes to make home safer for older adults

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In Wednesday’s Successful Aging, FOX8 spoke to Shannon Hodge with Home Instead Senior Care about making homes safer for older adults.

There are five fixes under $500 that can make an older adult’s home safer.

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1. Replace wall-mount shower heads with handheld shower heads on a hose.
Handheld shower heads are both convenient and safe because a senior can use the device as a fixed shower head – adjustable to the proper height – or convert it to a handheld one.

Cost: generally less than $100. With a plumber’s help, could be up to $175 to $200.

2. Install grab bars on the wall near the shower or tub.
Seniors who become unsteady on their feet or start to have balance problems could be tempted to grab on to a towel bar or shower curtain and put themselves at risk of falls. Head to a big box store or super center.

Cost: typically $30 to $60 for a good quality bar. With a pro’s help, an estimated $175 to $200 per bar for parts and labor.

3. Convert to lever handle faucets.
Water flow and temperature could be easier for arthritic fingers to control with a lever faucet, rather than one that twists on and off.

Cost: usually between $170 and $250. Add about $150 to $200 for a plumber to install.

4. Add lighting to closets and pantries.
Dark closets could not only be safety hazards, they could make dressing more difficult for seniors.

Cost: With attic access, a qualified electrician could install a light for around $250. Cost to add a battery-operated light: typically less than $25.

5. Add swing clear hinges.
Narrow doorways could be difficult for walkers and wheelchairs to navigate. Replacing standard hinges with “swing clear hinges” allows the door to swing completely clear of the door opening. This can add an extra 1.5 to 2” of clearance without widening the doorway.

Cost of a handyman or trim carpenter: about $150. A pair of these hinges generally costs between $20 and $30.