Just from their name alone, granny flats are mostly made to make a home for aging relatives. Taking care of your loved ones when they grow older is a noble sentiment, one that you would want your kids to carry. However, the elderly have different needs — maybe even mobility issues — and you should insist on its builders that your granny flat needs to both accessible and comfortable.
Elderly relatives will often have mobility issues, whether having trouble walking, needing a cane, or needing a wheelchair. Your granny flat must be accessible, with no steps to trip on or mats and rugs that can slip from underneath. Pathways and corridors must be wide, especially if one of your relatives uses a wheelchair.
Make sure there are no obstacles on the floor that they might trip over like toys, pots, or decorative ornaments. Take into account their grip strengths and do away with knobs that require firm holds. Instead, opt for lever-style doorknobs that they can easily use. Clear paths are still dangerous if they can’t see, so make sure light switches are accessible or opt for motion detecting lighting systems.
Safe Toilets and Baths
The majority of accidents in elderly homes happen in the toilet or bath. Slips and falls are common, with around 1 out of 3 individuals over the age of 65 suffering from a fall each year. Trips to the toilet go up with age, so take measures no minimize their chances of accidents and make their trips easier. Install handholds on the walls from the door to the toilet. Having something to hold on to makes the short walk safer, especially with slippery tiles. Supports near the toilet are especially important.
The elderly’s knees aren’t as strong as before; sitting down and getting up puts a lot of strain on the joints and muscles. Baths can be a bit trickier. Showers are out of the question, and so are tubs. Standing in a shower with soapy water is risky enough — what more getting in or out of a slippery tub? Of course, you can opt for a walk-in tub. Because you get in one like you would a car, walk-in tubs allow you to sit comfortably and safely as you take a bath.
Open Lines of Communication
Emergencies can happen at any time, so your loved ones should have a way to make contact easily. Smartphones or anything that uses the Internet won’t do since they will require a bit of manual dexterity and a clear mind. They might work well in normal situations but not during emergencies. A buzzer that they can press to alert you of an emergency can work, or you can provide medical alert systems that are keyed into your phones. Medical alert systems can alert you or emergency services at a push of a button or if it detects signs of a fall.
While it’s good to take care of aging relatives, it’s best to give them a bit of independence. Make your granny flat safe and comfortable as you can and hope your children do the same when it’s your turn to grow old.