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HomeInterior DecorationDesigning Elderly-Friendly Homes: A Comprehensive Guide

Designing Elderly-Friendly Homes: A Comprehensive Guide

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Thus, the availability of home layouts that accommodate elderly individuals in our society becomes more relevant at an older age. Designing a living environment that responds to the needs of elderly will do a lot to improve their standard of living, their freedom and safety. 

If one is planning to construct a new house or is planning a few alterations in the current house then there are a few particular points that one must pay attention to in order to make a home more senior-friendly. 

This blog discusses aspects of change in the physical structures of homes and incorporation of technology to suit elderly persons. 

Accessibility and Mobility 

Accessibility and Mobility build an elderly home

Single-Level Living 

There is however one characteristic that is more beneficial than any other and that is to build an elderly home as a one storied house. This gets rid of stairs which can be a very dangerous hazard to the elderly and the disabled.

Finally, if the construction of the multi-story home is inevitable, then it is wise to place necessary amenities that include a bedroom, a bathroom, a kitchen, and laundry on the first floor. 

Wide Doorways and Hallways 

Doors and halls must be wide enough to allow the passage of wheelchairs and walking sticks.

Entry doors should ideally measure not less than 36 inches at the clear width and accessible halls should not be less than 42 inches in width.

After this it allows the elderly persons who use mobility aids to move around the house with ease. 

Non-Slip Flooring 

Slippery floors are a health risk to stakers especially the elderly people. Choose the flooring that is slip-resistant; this could be textured tiles, vinyl, or rubber in nature.

Do not place carpeting, mats or rugs on floors that could lead to tripping, but if they are put then ensure that they have a non slip surface at the back of them. 

Ramps and Stairlifts 

If the home has steps it may be wise to put ramps or get stairlifts. These should have a slope of not more than 1:12, be fitted with handrails on both sides and the floors should be slip-resistant.

One can install stair lifts to help the elderly in moving up and down the staircase with ease and without the risk of falling. 

Bathroom Safety 

Bathroom Safety

Walk-In Showers and Tubs 

Standard bathtubs pose many problems and risks to pensioners, which makes it significantly more difficult to bathe them. 

Transfer showers, or shower stalls without lips or ledges are preferred showers as are walking showers that are either low or no edges. 

It is mandatory that the shower area has slip resistance, so that the elderly would not fall easily; one could fix grab bars for support. 

Grab Bars and Handrails 

Get Grab Bars near the shower, close to the toilet and near any stairs. These offer extra support and go a long way in ensuring that the patients do not fall.

Make sure that the grab bars are installed in a fixed manner on the wall to enable it to sustain an adult weight. 

Raised Toilet Seats 

Fitted toilet seats that are raised provide elderly patients with ease in sitting down and standing up. There should be models which have link armrests to afford more stability. 

Lever-Style Faucets 

Compared to knob types of faucets, lever-style faucets allow seniors and specifically those with rheumatoid arthritis or weak hands to use the fixture more easily. It is recommended to install anti-scald devices to avoid burn injuries. 

Kitchen Convenience 

Kitchen Convenience

Accessible Cabinets and Appliances 

These should be arranged in a manner that would permit easy access to the kitchen for all people.

It is recommended to bring pull-out shelves and drawers wherein the lower cabinets are situated to also reduce the frequency of bending and reaching.

Select control knobs and handles that are well marked and easy to grip in order to avoid causing stress to the employees.

Side-by-side refrigerators and wall ovens are less old-fashioned than the typically used appliances. 

Counter Heights 

Modification in this aspect should see the height of counters being fixed according to the user.

Depending on this factor, countertops have to be around thirty inches high with free space under them for legs. 

Task Lighting 

There should be good illumination in the kitchen in order to avoid various accidents.

Task lighting should be placed under cabinets and over work areas; therefore it should be installed.

Flowing lights may also be of good use and it is recommended to use the motion activated lights. 

Bedroom Comfort 

Bedroom Comfort

Bed Height 

It should be at an appropriate height so as to allow easy raising of the patient onto the bed or, vice-versa.

The bed height to be chosen is such that when the person sits towards the edge of the bed the feet touch the floor. 

Lighting and Electrical Outlets 

Use lamps which are operable from the bed so that clients do not need to get out of bed in the dark. Switches and sockets should not be in locations where one has to bend in order to plug in an appliance or switch on the light.

Perhaps, it would be useful to turn on several night lights in the bedroom and the hallways to enable safe movement at night. 

Closet Accessibility 

Smaller fixtures such as rods and shelves should be placed at a low working level so that employees will not have to bend or turn to step ladders.

Compared to swinging doors, there is a less amount of force needed to move sliding doors.

Living Room Adaptations 

Living Room Adaptations

Furniture Arrangement 

Move around the furniture in such a way that; there are no barriers or crowding around rooms.

Make certain that the patient has enough space to maneuver a mobility bus as well as a wheelchair or a walker.

Select well-built furniture having tight cushioning since it is easier to get in and out of. 

Easy-to-Use Controls 

Provide convenient switches for turning on/off the lights, controlling the amount of heat to be produced and the entertainment systems.

It is easier for elderly people to control the environment using remote controls, smart home technology and voice activated controls. 

Flooring 

Like in other sections of the house floors for the living room should be those that do not cause slipping.

It is recommended to have carpet inhibitions that are not too thick in case one has to maneuver with assistance such as a wheelchair. 

Technological Innovations

Technological Innovations

Smart Home Technology 

 While selecting smart home devices for an elderly-friendly home, it can be recommended that such devices are incorporated because they can greatly improve the safety and convenience of the home.

Consider installing 

  • Smart home devices, like voice recognition devices – Amazon Echo, Google Home – to control operatives like lights, thermostats, and the security system. 
  • Self containing devices, such as emergency help calling systems when a person has a medical condition that becomes severe. 
  • Lighting with motion sensors that switch on the lights once people are in the room. 

Security Systems 

Security systems such as CCTV, motion sensors, and alarms can go a long way to giving the elderly who are living alone a sense of security.

Select the systems that are simple to use, and allow the family members and the caregivers to manage them remotely. 

Health Monitoring Devices 

Smart clothing can monitor the general health status of the patient by tracking their heartbeat, medicines intake and movement.

They can also generate signals to the caregivers or the doctors where there are signs of abnormality. 

Conclusion 

An elderly friendly home entails the right planning besides paying attention to the requirements of the elderly.

Finally, if you are going to concentrate on such aspects as accessibility, safety, and convenience, you will be able to provide the senior citizens with a comfortable living environment. 

In some cases this may mean changing the architecture, in other cases it may involve the use of the latest available technology, in all cases it means fulfilling the dream of the disabled people to live a life which allows them to live Comfortably, independently and safely.

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