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Living in joint families is prominent across India, but the concept of independent living is fast gaining popularity amongst its elderly population. The liberty to live life according to individual needs has inspired senior citizens to live separately in their private homes. However, living independently demands the home be designed in a manner to make lives easier for the elderly.
The design of furniture, storage, and surface finishes has to be decided in a manner that does not put any strain or pressure on aging people. Avoiding sharp edges and promoting ease of movement are some of the basic design principles for senior living facilities.
Below is a guide you can use to design and renovate a home to make it elder-friendly.
Select High-Rise Furniture
Elderly people often find it difficult to sit down and stand up from a lower level. So, it is important to select furniture that is slightly raised to make movement easier. The height of furniture such as sofas and beds can be customized to suit the needs of the senior citizens. Avoid low-rise seatings such as diwans and low-seating dining tables.
Focus on Cushioning and Upholstery
It is important to design furniture that is comfortable and relaxing. Upholstery and cushioning help in achieving this by helping avoid sharp edges and hard solid materials such as wood and metal. Padded headboards and backrests provide the necessary support for sitting up straight and ease the stress on the back.
Installing Handrails in the Toilet
The presence of water makes toilets prone to slipping accidents. Handrails or grab rails lend help to the elderly by providing support to stand up and walk. You can install handrails in shower area and next to the toilet seat for ensuring ease of movement thereby making the design disabled friendly.
Slip-Resistant Surface Finishes
Maintaining a firm grip is difficult for aging people. Kitchen and toilets are high-risk zones for the elderly because of the involvement of water. Thus, the flooring and cabinet surface finishes should be anti-skid to minimize accidents. A pro tip here would be to install anti-slip rubber mats on the floor to assure that any water spillage can be seen.
Design Well Lit Spaces
Senior citizens find it difficult to read without assistance due to a weakening sight. So, it is important to adequately light the home to minimize risk of injuries. Opt for direct lighting and task lighting to help the elderly move around without discomfort. Try and maximize the intake of natural light where the elderly can soak in the morning sun and enjoy a bright breezy evening.
Lower Shelf Height
Climbing up and down is strenuous for people in old age and so it is advisable to design storage shelves at eye level. Avoid designing overhead shelves which are difficult to reach and need assistance for access. Keep the height of the shelves lower to ensure safety and minimize effort.
Photo credit: Instagram
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