Constructing a house can be a daunting task. Building one for senior citizens can be even more challenging. If you have ageing parents, you would want to tweak your house design to fit their needs and requirement. Here are some of the best tips to design your home for senior citizens. Take a look.
8 Tips To Design Your Home For Senior Citizens
If your parents have gone old, you might want to make special arrangements in your newly built house for their increased comfort. How about incorporating design elements that aid them in living? Designers and architects face big challenges when planning a house around senior citizens. Let’s take a look at some of the most helpful tips to design your home for senior citizens.
- Placement of windows
- Bathrooms should be suitable for the elderly
- Automatic faucets and taps
- Switchboards must be approachable
- Well-lit entryways
- Safe stairs
- Age-friendly floors
- Easy on the hands
Placement of windows
To avoid the living struggles that senior citizens encounter on a day-to-day basis, builders create age-friendly designs, such as a stair-free house, open floor plans, larger hallways, no-step entries, implementing smart home technology and above all providing extra safety in the bathrooms.
Apart from these, architects and designers also pay special attention to windows when it comes to designing a house for the elderly. Mainly because windows determine the amount of sunlight you want in your room. It is advised to place windows facing south-east so that the light falls on your bed. For senior citizens who need more Vitamin D for the health of their bones, it is great to have abundant sunlight in the room. This way your parents won’t need to sit in the courtyard to bathe in the sun.
Bathrooms should be suitable for the elderly
Washroom is that part of the house which is most prone to all kinds of trips, falls and even fractures or fatal injuries among the senior citizens. That is why it is extremely important to have a bathroom that is tailor-made for your loved one.
Place safety handles beside the commode and sink. To prevent any accident occurring in the bathroom it is better not to have a bathtub. You can have a separate shower area with a high chair placed so that it is easier to take a bath for your parent. Place safety handles and an intercom in the shower area. Moreover, the flooring of the bathroom must be made using matte finish tiles so that it doesn’t turn slippery when taking a shower. You can also place special water-resistant mats in the shower area that have a firm grip to avoid any slips and falls.
Bathrooms must be well-lit and properly ventilated. There should be automatic lights and an exhaust system. This is especially recommended for people with ageing parents.
Automatic faucets and taps
When designing spaces for the elderly, get the sanitary fitting that help them in their day-to-day living. Install taps and faucets that turn off on their own once you are done with your ablution. As reflexes are slow in old age, it gets difficult to use taps. It becomes more convenient and easy to use if there are modern sanitary fittings installed in the washroom.
Switchboards should be approachable
This is very important. As mobility is quite difficult and limited when you get older, the switch boards in your house should be easily accessible, especially for senior citizens. Place the access buttons to light and fan near your parents’ bedside table, so they can operate it while staying in bed. Rocker switches are better than the regular toggle light switches.
Entry points to a house must be easy and smooth. If your loved one is fumbling with keys or grocery bag in their hand, it can unbalance them and result in a fall. Keep entrance areas well-lit and always place a bench on entryways for putting things down and catching breath before walking into the house. These are little things but once you start living in your constructed house, these small tips to designing your home for senior citizens can be very helpful.
For ageing people living in a multi-storeyed building, a stairway can be an accident-prone area. No one should compromise on having a firm handrail, and that too, on both sides of the staircase.
Placement of lights at key points is equally important and critical. Take extra care to keep the entire staircase well-lit from top to bottom. The stairs should be easy to climb. Do not have high stairs because it is quite likely the senior citizens who are arthritic or suffering from any mobility issues would have difficulty in taking a step. Keep the stairs as low as possible. The flooring of the stairs should not be marble because marble can get cold in winters. Keep a low conductor when it comes to flooring like wooden tiles do not allow heat or cold to reach you.
In areas where there are stairs you can have an alternate ramp for a wheelchair for the elderly.
Easy on the hands
To build a home safer for an old resident, you need to start thinking about them performing routine tasks so that you can help them where they need the most. For instance, a simple act of turning a door knob can become a difficult task, even painful for senior citizens who have arthritis. But you can make things really easy by simply replacing doorknobs with lever-style hardware which can make it easier to open a door. This also applies for faucets. Try the lever ones for your washroom and kitchen.
Door levers are much easier to use if both of your hands are slippery or if you plan to carry something with both hands. In such a case, you can still open the door with your arm.
Slippery surfaces under your feet are not only dangerous as you might slip but they can also trigger fatal accidents. To build senior-friendly homes, it is advised to go for wooden flooring as they are non-slippery and can help in walking through a walker, wheelchair or may be a walking stick. You can also place non skid mats under rugs to minimize any risk of falls or trips. Try to avoid any step-ups or step-ins. Keep a smooth floor for easy walking. Trips are equally dangerous if not more for an elderly person. Moreover, do not think of opting for a carpet as flooring as they become breeding grounds for dust-mites and can trigger an allergic reaction.
So, these were some of the most important tips to design a home for senior citizens. Technology-driven mechanisms such as automatic switches, automatic faucets, and controlling thermostats through a smartphone can help elderly people perform everyday tasks. Also, let’s not forget that Smart Home Technology is the new future. It will help ageing homeowners, especially those who have to deal with mental and physical disabilities, lead a more comfortable lifestyle.
Railings alongside the stairs or even in areas where there is conventionally nothing to provide support, like a large living room, can help an older resident easily navigate through the house. It is also important to have an intercom system placed at key points in the house that can make it easier to contact in case of an emergency.Keep your house well-lit and follow the above tips to make living easier at an advanced age.
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