How to Make Your Outdoor Space Senior-FriendlyMay 1, 2023
May in Chicago is gorgeous. We’ve finally shrugged off the coldest days, but have yet to settle the intense heat that can come with summer. It’s no wonder that most Chicagoans want to spend as much time as possible outside this time of year—especially seniors, after spending all winter locked inside! If you or a loved one have a back patio or yard, you’re likely looking forward to drinking your morning coffee, reading, and enjoying other activities in this space. Before you can start relaxing, however, it’s important to learn how to make your outdoor space senior-friendly. This way, you and your loved ones stay as safe as possible.
Make sure there is plenty of space to move around
It is easy for outdoor patios and backyards to become cluttered with furniture, grilling tools, and yard maintenance equipment. This, however, can make it difficult for you to navigate around. If a space is too tightly clustered, you put yourself at a higher risk of tripping and falling. When arranging your outdoor space, keep walkways clear and wide for your safety.
This is especially important for seniors with limited mobility. Make sure there is plenty of space between doorways and furniture to allow for walkers, wheelchairs, or other methods of assistance.
Keep the stairs safe
If your deck has stairs leading to it out of the home or stairs that lead you to a yard, make sure they are easily navigable. Install adhesive strips that allow for better traction so you don’t have to worry about a rainy day making them slippery. Also make sure the steps are the same height, as uneven stairs can lead to injury.
Should mobility be a concern for you or a loved one, ensure your railings are sturdy. If you don’t have any railings on your porch steps, have them installed as soon as possible. In addition, you may want to consider installing a ramp for those bound to a wheelchair. These could be built alongside your stairs, or in place of them.
Highlight changes in elevation
Larger decks may consist of several levels, which can sometimes be difficult to see. Make sure these areas are clearly denoted by a strip of bright tape or paint. This would also be a good place to install slip-resistant tape.
If there are sunken areas in your yard, you may want to make note of these as well. Something as simple as a small flag will help you clearly identify these sections and be mindful of them when walking about. When you’re ready to fill them, you already have them clearly marked.
Have lots of seating available
Even if you live alone, it’s important to leave yourself ample seating. When planning your furniture, make sure you have plenty of shady options. Large umbrellas and pergolas offer great shade, but you might not even have to buy anything. Furniture pressed up against your home, or under a tree, will do the trick just as well.
Having plenty of options not only allows your guests to enjoy your outdoor space together, but it gives you options of where to sit as the sun shifts!
Make sure the space is well-illuminated
Just because the sun has set, it doesn’t mean you can’t use your outdoor space anymore. As long as you install plenty of lighting around your deck and yard, you can be outside as late as you want! It is especially important to illuminate steps or any other locations that have fall hazards.
Consider purchasing solar or sensor lights so you don’t have to worry about going around the outdoor living space and turning on each individual light. Alternatively, you could purchase a set of lights that can be turned on with the touch of a remote.
Stay safe at home with the help of a caregiver
Creating a senior-friendly outdoor space is a great way to help your elderly loved one enjoy the outdoors and stay active. However, it’s important to remember that outdoor activities are just one aspect of senior care. If you or a loved one need more assistance with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, and medication management, it may be time to consider home care services.
At Home Care Powered by AUAF, we offer the support you need to live safely and comfortably at home. Our caregivers can assist with daily tasks, provide companionship, and even run errands for you. For more information on our services, give us a call at 773-274-9262.
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