Aging Canada Needs Better Homes

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More than 15 percent of Canada’s population is over the age of 65. Accidents are common around the house, and the government is taking steps to prevent them. Every senior or family living with one is entitled to a fully-refundable tax credit of up to $2,500 for renovations made to make a house safer and more accessible.

Bathroom Safety

Slips and falls are most common in the bathroom, especially when a senior has mobility issues. Even in Calgary, one of Canada’s healthiest cities, 33% of seniors report having mobility issues. The government’s tax credit specifically mentions bathroom safety, particularly the need for grab bars, non-slip flooring, and special tubs or showers. Grab bars are essential for seniors with mobility issues but are not entirely confined to a wheelchair. Supports near the toilet area are essential, as sitting down and getting up puts extreme stress on the knees.

Changing positions can also lead to balance issues, particularly for seniors prone to vertigo bouts. Making a bathroom accessible to wheelchairs takes more work. The toilet path must be clear, and the toilet seat must be level with the wheelchair.

There should be supports on the toilet seat to facilitate transfer between itself and the wheelchair. Normal showers and tubs can be dangerous as the combination of soap and water is notorious for causing slips and falls. Walk-in tubs eliminate these risks, and getting in and out of them is quite easy.

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Kitchen Remodels

Extensive remodeling is required to make a kitchen accessible. Counters need to be lowered, and spaces must be opened up to allow space for a wheelchair. Residential plumbers might be needed to adjust the sink and its underlying plumbing to make space underneath. Additional cabinets might be needed, particularly ones that are pulled instead of the usual swing type.

They are easier to access and require less space to maneuver with a wheelchair. Opt for kitchen devices with switches/buttons at the front for easy access and to prevent accidents. Smoke detectors are essential because stopping a kitchen fire is more dangerous in a wheelchair.

Other Parts of the House

Making the house level or placing wheelchair ramps in areas with steps is also covered by the government’s tax credit scheme. It also covers stairlifts and elevators, although $2,500 will barely cover their costs. A first-floor occupancy is ideal, and most families adjust. Ensure that there are no carpets or rugs that can cause a person to slip or get entangled on a walking aid or wheelchair. Additional lighting is also covered. Place switches so they are easily reached from a wheelchair or opt for motion-detecting lights.

In Case of Emergencies

Although they are not covered, medical alert systems are essential in ensuring safety. These systems can alert specific people or emergency services once it detects the sign of a fall or if the senior wearing it pushes a button.

$2,500 will certainly help in making the houses safer for seniors. Renovations will likely reduce accidents as well as make the lives of seniors significantly better.

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