Elder-friendly home design

Two elderly people holding hands in the street.

If you are an elderly person, or you are younger but you want to do something nice for your elders, then you’ve come to the right place! Homes aren’t usually designed with elderly people in mind. There are things in usual home designs that make it inconvenient for elderly people to live in such a home. That’s why we’re here today, to help you design an elder-friendly home. After reading this post, you’ll be well on your way to making life a little bit easier for your elders.

Hiring the professionals to help you definitely has its benefits

Before we begin, it’s worth noting that you don’t have to do everything on your own. There are various moving services for the elderly, that will help you if you’re changing places and you’re looking to renovate your new home. Everything from sorting, organizing and downsizing to arranging shipment and storage is made much easier with the help of qualified professionals.

Of course, you can do everything on your own. Doing so will definitely save you some money. On the other hand, these moving services aren’t really expensive and can help you out a great deal. So, the choice is, as always, up to you.

How to achieve an elder-friendly design

Whether you’ve chosen to do everything on your own, or you have decided to hire some assistance, you should definitely have an idea about what you should do in order to make an elder-friendly design. Don’t worry as it’s not that hard. If you’re a senior, you can even move in a week!

The door handles

You can start with door handles. People tend to choose the door handles they like the best aesthetically, without thinking whether they will be practical for seniors. However, regular door handles can be problematic for elderly people suffering from arthritis. When it comes to door handles, you can choose between round doorknobs and door levers. If you’re designing an elder-friendly home, it is much better to go with door levers. Arthritis can make it very difficult for elderly people to use doorknobs, but luckily, door levels aren’t such an issue.

The lightning

The next thing to consider is lightning. All areas of the house or the apartment should have adequate lightning. Seniors, as you know, usually don’t see as well as when they were younger. Apart from providing sufficient light, make sure that the lightning isn’t glaring. This will greatly lesser the chances of seniors tripping and falling. Be especially careful in areas that have stairwells in them. And make sure that there’s a light switch at both ends of a stairwell.

Warm light in a room.
The lightning should be adequate and not glaring!

Another important room in this sense is the kitchen. Not only should you properly light the kitchen in a regular way, but you should also install lights under the cabinets. Accidents can happen in the kitchen more than anywhere else, so be careful, both when you’ve moved and when you’re organizing and packing your kitchen for moving!

The plug points

The position of the plug points can be very inconvenient for elderly people. Senior’s backs are not what they used to be, and bending over can be tough if they’re suffering from backaches.

An extension cord.
Make an elder-friendly design by avoiding extension cords.

So, make sure that plug points are set at a table top height. As was the case with door handles, this may not look the best in terms of interior design, but it can mean the world to seniors. Similarly, having extension cords may be more practical to younger people, but seniors will appreciate it you would install more plug points instead of getting an extension cord. Backaches are far from pleasant, and they’re only made worse if you have to bend down frequently in order to reach the extension cord.

The sound

Then, there’s the matter of sound. For example, smoke detectors are very useful, but only if you can hear them. So, get a smoke detector that will light up when it detects smoke, instead of a regular one that will notify you that there’s something wrong only with sound.

A lit match.
In the case of fire, the smoke detector should provide a visual signal as well.

Also, pay attention to doorbells. They should be loud enough that seniors can hear them from every room in the house. If you want some extra security as well, you can get a intercom that serves as a doorbell at the same time. Doing so will certainly increase the safetiness of elderly people with a hearing problem. Of course, we realize that making an elder-friendly design and buying such an intercom, getting a specific smoke detector, and so on, can be financially tricky, especially if you’re moving on a budget. However, safety comes first! So, it’s a good idea to save some money in order to make sure that accidents are prevented.

The main entrance

In order to make things easier for elderly people in wheelchairs, the width of door openings and hallways will need to be 3.5 feet wide (and it’s even more convenient if the width is even larger than that). This especially applies to the main entrance. Such width will provide an easy access to seniors in wheelchairs. Of course, as the rest of the house/apartment, the main entrance should be properly lighted as well.

You can even place a bench next to the main entrance. People in wheelchairs can then place any objects that they’ve carried on the bench while unlocking the door. And a bench will also be useful to them if they want to tie or untie their shoelaces. When making an elder-friendly design, even such details are important!

The bathroom

Finally, we’ll conclude by discussing what’s an elder-friendly design when it comes to your bathroom. Along with the kitchen, the bathroom is potentially the most dangerous room in your home.

  • Install non-slip floor tiles and use non-skid bathroom mats. Wet floors can be very dangerous, even if you’re not a senior!
  • Install a handrail or a grab bar. This makes for an elder-friendly design as it will help elders to move more easily.
  • The toilet seat should be high enough (at least 17 inches). Otherwise, senior’s knees and backs won’t be pleased!
  • Use a door that opens outwards, outside of the bathroom. If someone falls inside the bathroom, there’s chance you won’t be able to open the door otherwise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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