Home is where the health is | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 04, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, September 04, 2018

health talk

Home is where the health is

For most of us, our home is where we spend most of our lives in. It is where we wake up and go back to bed, where we relax and let go and feel safe. One could call it their little heaven. And we do all we can to spruce it up to make it look its best so we feel our best. But often decorations are not enough and hazards still lurk around which could possibly prove to be fatal. Renovations come in many forms, but the ones where we should be investing most, and that includes time as well, is renovations that are better for the health of our loved ones.



Tiles and natural stones are a complete no if you have an elderly in the home. Tiles can get super slippery, while a fall on either can hit one real hard. Vinyl floors are a solution here. These are not exactly soft, but they do provide more cushion to a fall than tiles or stones.

The bathroom is a crucial place since it is bound to get wet. Sandstone tiles can replace your regular ones to make the bathroom a safer place for the elderly. Unlike natural stones, these are not as hard, and being porous they are somewhat cushioning as well. They do however require a lot of care and maintenance.

If you are not on a budget that allows an entire change of floors at the moment, you can always cover it up with soft carpets. These will not be slippery and will cushion any unfortunate falls. For places like the bathroom or kitchen where you cannot cover entire spaces, replace your area rugs with ones that have rubber soles. Area rugs make slipping pretty easy, ones with rubber soles do not.

Grab bars can also be installed in the bathroom for one to hold onto and will decrease chances of falls and injuries by a lot.


Wheelchair ease

Going around with wheelchairs at home is not the most convenient. Lots of changes need to be made. Widening the doorways is one way to start as it will make changing rooms easier. The next is a wheelchair ramp for the home. Often our homes have elevations and depressions, where we use a single or double stairs. Installing ramps in these areas will not only be helpful, but will also lessen hazards for the elderly.

New Doorknobs

Holding and twisting a doorknob is not so easy when one is in their late 70s. Replacing these with levers make it easier to simply push and pull open.



Ventilate more

Not ventilating properly is a problem in itself, but if your home shelters someone with lots of breathing problems, it can pose a bigger threat to them. Closing off all windows and doors has become a habit nowadays because of all the dust and pollution outside. However, closing it off is not a solution either.

Not ventilating leads to mould, condensation and a damp atmosphere because the moisture cannot escape. These come from showers, pans, kettles and lots more and eventually result in musty smells, and growth of mould and wet patches in the home. Over long time one can develop respiratory diseases, this especially goes for the elderly.

Opt for large windows and open verandas, make sure to have proper ventilation in places like the kitchen and bathroom where it can get soggy pretty easily. Have waterproof paint on all walls, not just the sides around your bathroom, so wet patches do not develop so easily.



No Carpets

Allergy reactions are awful, especially when they are inside your home. One of the very first things to do here is to remove wall to wall carpeting in the person's bedroom. Carpets hold a ton of dust which can make breathing troublesome for the person.

Separate your furry friends

Insert air filters and keep windows closed if you live near the main roads, or anywhere that pulls in a lot of dust. Pets, as much as we love them, need a new home unfortunately. Pets can be a huge allergy trigger, and it can get worse over time, so best part your ways here for the sake of better health, or give them a home of their own separate from yours.

Letting go of potted plants

Certain plants can also trigger allergic reactions. Having too many in the home can attract small bugs and insects which might also be a cause as they carry pollen with them. If you already know what plants you are allergic to, you know what to do. If not, simply keep all potted plants outside and far from your apartment or home.

No more textures

Minimize textured surfaces. Make sure your furniture is less upholstered, and more wood or metal. Something that can easily be cleaned without any trace of dust. If you love upholstered furniture, go for materials like leather that clean easy. For items like curtains, opt for materials like synthetic fabric that will not hold onto a ton of dust.

Squeaky clean walls

As for the walls, best to let go of wallpapers as they can tear and gather dust, mites, pollen and other microscopic substances. Tile them up, or paint them with mould resistant enamels that will ensure they stay smooth and clean.



Spacious Kitchens

Nowadays while renovating our homes, the kitchen is often relegated to be a little corner that barely holds two stoves and a storage. This place might not seem as important, but a little change might just help you achieve that diet routine you have been looking to perfect for a while now.

Make sure to dedicate larger counters for experiments, and if possible, include a mini seating area as well. Storage is a must. Glass cabinets work great because they let you see what you have. Shutting them off gives you the idea of no food, tempting you to get take-outs instead of home cooking your meal.

When your kitchen feels better, you feel more lively working in it and you feel amped to cook and bake. This eventually leads to a healthier lifestyle by minimizing fast food consumption, contributing to your better health.

Let us take a moment to make a home renovation for a better mind and body, and not just a prettier house that does no good. Take your time to list down the requirements of all at your place, and make adjustments as needed. That fancy lighting can wait, nothing really beats caring for our health.


Photo: LS Archive/Sazzad Ibne Sayed

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