As the Baby Boomer generation ages, along with the increasing costs of long- term care, the number of seniors aging in place is on the rise. This trend is emerging also because seniors are living longer and enjoying a more active, vibrant lifestyle than previous generations.
It’s no wonder that so many seniors want to remain in their homes for as long as possible considering they have spent decades raising families there. And others choose to age in the place due to the high cost of assisted living and retirement communities. In addition, technology and a range of services, like the delivery of home meals, make it possible for older adults to live in their own homes independently as well. Although it may not always be likely for older adults to remain independent, the elderly friendly home design can be made to enable them to stay in place longer.
In the following article, you’ll find tips for making modifications to the home that will enhance older adults’ independence and safety and make homes more accommodating for them.
Elderly Friendly Flooring
To select flooring for a home for seniors, it is important that it does not slip and not cause injury to the residents, as well as easy-to-maintain. To achieve an elderly friendly home design, avoid polished stone flooring and ceramic tiles since they will be slippery if wet. Compared to traditional hard floors, soft floors such as cork, rubber, and linoleum reduce impact when seniors fall. Consider pilacing a carpet on the floor instead if one does not have the option of replacing the flooring. As an additional benefit, the installation of smooth, tight- lopped carpets that are adhered to the floor reduces the probability of falling and suffering trauma. As well as being more comfortable for joints, these softer surfaces won’t pose a trip hazard, like high-piled or excessively cushioned carpets do.
If possible, keep floors smooth and level. Whenever level changes are inevitable, signal them with a change in material, texture, or color, but avoiding patterns or highly reflective surfaces that may obscure depth perception.
Elderly Friendly Lighting
The elderly friendly home design suggests that the lighting provided in senior homes has to be adequate. All parts of the home should be properly lit as efficient lighting can make it much easier for the family elders to find their way around, which would minimize the risk of injuries. When you have to move around at night, for example, to use the bathroom, night lights are helpful. And emergency lights shuld come in handy in case of an electrical blackout — they should be installed on the stairs, in the kitchen, and at the exits. Considering the limited mobility of seniors, the switches for these lights should be placed within easy reach.
Last, make sure the house has sufficient windows that allow natural light in. As people age, sunlight therapy becomes increasingly valuable for treating their depression. Moreover, it provides Vitamin D, which is necessary for calcium absorption. Glass doors and skylights can also allow sunlight into your house.
Elderly Friendly Livingroom
Make sure the living room layout provides space for the elderly ones to move around without bumping into anything. The elderly friendly home design requires maintaining clear, clutter-free layouts for a comfortable passageway. For this reason, an L-shaped sofa and round table would be ideal for creating a living room with ease of flow and elegance. A rule of thumb to arrange furniture smartly for an elderly friendly home design is not to interrupt the traffic flow in the rest of the space.
Elderly Friendly Bathroom
It is evident that bathrooms leave seniors vulnerable. For this reason, useful devices such as handrails or bathroom grab bars for elderly can be installed, since they make it easier for disadvantaged people to get in and out of the shower area. The bathroom grab bars for elderly offer additional stability while sitting or getting up, as well as some additional support. Alternatively, they can function as towel rails. The safety rail should also be added to the toilet or anywhere else in the room where someone may require assistance. Besides, a hand-held showerhead is often easier to use for someone with limited mobility than a fixed shower head. Then, an elderly friendly bathroom should always have a telephone extension in case someone gets into difficulty so he or she can call for help.
Elderly Friendly Kitchen
It is wise to focus on the kitchen, as older family members may desire to take on the chore of cooking. Recessed lights under the shelves will shed light on the countertops effectively. When one is older, standing for a long period of time becomes increasingly challenging, so do not forget to include a surface where seniors can sit to prepare meals. If seniors tend to use an oven in the kitchen, the wall oven at a suitable height would be able to provide more convenience.
Elderly Friendly Furniture
In the house, all furniture should be placed in such a way that allows seniors to move around freely. It is best to keep items that are frequently used in lower cabinets so that they are easily accessible. In an elderly friendly bedroom, a bed rail or a small table should be placed beside the bed in order to provide a convenient place to keep spectacles, phones, medicines, and water. Apart from the elderly friendly bedroom, small things like doorknobs need to be modified as well. It probably does not occur to most ones how difficult it is to turn a doorknob, but arthritis sufferers or people with other conditions may find it quite challenging. Children and the elderly often find that using a door lever will be more comfortable than using a doorknob. A door lever is also easier to operate if one’s hands are wet and slippery or if one is holding something with both hands. In that event, they are still able to open the door using their arm.
Health and social services are vital to senior citizens, but remember even slight design changes can have a profound effect on seniors’ living. With age, simple tasks such as climbing the stairs or getting up from the chair become hard to accomplish, and doing these activities makes up seniors’ every day. That’s why it is essential to have to look at ways to design the elderly friendly homes to help active seniors be as independent as possible. As a result of making these changes, seniors can perform their activities with ease, simplify maintenance and housekeeping, reduce daily risks, and enjoy a safer home that supports active aging.