Age can be quite unkind even to the strongest of us, and if you’re designing a home for your elderly, there are things you must keep in mind to make sure their safety and independence are ensured every moment of every day, especially if they plan on staying on their own.
Here are a few pointers to steer you in the right direction. Read on.
1. Anti-slip Flooring
A non-slip and easy to maintain floor is a must for seniors. While carpets might seem like a good idea, maintaining them isn’t easy as they tend to get stained and accumulate dust easily.
Flooring in the bathrooms needs to have a rough texture and using flamed granite or a similar material is a good idea. Vinyl floors with some sort of cushioning underneath work well. It is also important to ensure that the flooring isn’t too light in color, as it tends to mask water spills and can lead to accidents.
2. Wheelchair Access
Homes for seniors using a wheelchair need to have wider doors and passageways (at least 6 feet wide passageways and 4 feet wide doors) in all rooms. Double doors are a better idea than single doors if the home is on the smaller side. Also, the entryway needs to have a ramp with a gentle slope apart from steps.
3. A Stairlift
It isn’t a great idea for seniors to use stairs too often but if the house does have two floors, consider installing a stairlift so that they can have unassisted access to both the floors.
4. Grab Bars In The Bathroom
Strong and sturdy grab bars, especially in the toilet and bathroom are a very important safety feature in homes for seniors.
5. Good Lighting
Good and plentiful lighting is extremely important in a home for the elderly, as vision deteriorates quickly as age increases. Ensure there’s enough ambient lighting all over the house with sufficient task lighting wherever required. White lights are better than yellow lights when it comes to seniors. A night lamp near the bed is absolutely essential and stairs need to be well-lit at all times.
6. Comfortable Furniture
Don’t clutter the seniors’ home with too much furniture and curios, and avoid any furniture pieces that have sharp corners or edges. Make sure the chairs and couches aren’t too low, and easy for seniors to get off of. It is also important to ensure that all beds have bedside tables next to them so that they can access their bed-time essentials with ease. Also, the shelves and rods inside their wardrobes need to be kept easily accessible.
7. No Door Knobs
Using doorknobs, which all of us take for granted, can be very painful for a person suffering from arthritic pains. Install door levers with a wide grip on all doors to help your elders grip and use them easily.
8. Bringing The Outdoors Inside
Old age brings with it restricted movement and most seniors are confined to the interiors of their homes. Opening up their space with large windows and balconies with a good view of the outside can help them stay in touch with the outside world and feel like they’re a part of it. This will also ensure they get their bit of sun and fresh air, without having to step out of the comfort of their homes.
9. Senior-Friendly Kitchen Design
‘Comfortable aging’ needs to be kept in mind when designing kitchens meant for the elderly to use. Activities that involve too much dexterity, bending or crouching need to be kept at a minimum, if not eliminated entirely. It’s a good idea to install cabinets with see-through shutters and lights fitted inside them for easy visibility and access to what’s inside them. Drawers and cabinets can be installed with soft-close hinge systems for ease-of-use. Roll out trays in the pantry also make taking out items easier. Lower drawers in the kitchen can be fitted with a push-to-open mechanism so that they can be pushed open using the foot, instead of having to bend down.
10. Ensuring Security
Last but not the least, it is important to ensure the safety of seniors, especially if they’re living alone. Make sure there’s a burglar alarm in place and the grills in the balcony aren’t less than 4 feet high. It is also important to install smoke alarms and make sure all gadgets are easy to use and in good repair.