As the baby boomers are nearing retirement and old age, more seniors are opting to move to assisted living and aging-in-place communities. Part of this rapidly growing trend is because moving allows the elderly the freedom and independence. Since the older generation now is much more active than the previous generations, they are looking for living arrangements that support their lifestyle.
Whether the elder in your home is choosing to move to assisted living homes or deciding to stay in place, it’s good to look for certain features in the home. Features that will work to make their lives during old age easier rather than working against them.
So which features make a home senior-friendly? Let’s take a look at them so you can incorporate those elements in your own home in case you are thinking of renovation or are simply looking for a senior living home.
Single-level design/first-floor plan
This one might seem obvious, that’s why it’s first on the list. As your parents near old age, running up and down multiple flights of stairs won’t be feasible. It’s downright impossible for wheelchair-bound seniors. If you do decide to move into a multistory building or even an old age facility that has a multi-story design – make sure to opt for one that has the elevator facility.
The entire living plan should have wheelchair access and should support wheels especially around the shower and bathroom area. Avoid curbing around the showers. Walk-in tubs are best for seniors. In addition to that, make sure that all transitional spaces are wide enough for trouble-free wheelchair movement.
Ideally, open places should be 60×60 inches wide apart to make turning easy. Corridors should be 40 inches wide without any obstructions. Lastly, make sure to put a seat in the shower so that it’s easy for the elderly to bathe.
Pull-out and pull-down Shelving
Pull-out cabinets can save a ton of hassle not just for the elderly but for people of all ages. Therefore, always opt for these units in place so that it’s easier for them to reach for things effortlessly. Deep shelving units can be particularly difficult to use. Many of the homes for seniors in Florida have this feature.
Make sure to place counters at varying heights so that it’s easier for the elderly to work more comfortably and efficiently.
Remote Control Windows and Blinds
Having this as part of the house plan could make the life of the elderly a whole lot easier. It’s a very thoughtful feature to have in place.
One of the biggest concerns with elderly living is the possibility of accidental falling. If the elderly person in your home is moving to a new home, make sure that the place has a slip-resistant surfaces, particularly in or near bathnig areas and on and near stariways if there are multiple levels. Grab bars in the shower and other places where spills are commonplace is also a good feature to work into plan.
Lever door Handles and twist-free Faucets
These are some additional features that are a must for the elderly. Twist-free faucets and level-door handles can be particularly helpful for arthritis patients.
Open Floor Plan
An open floor plan is particularly convenient for wheelchair-bound elderly. Having a living area/dining/kitchen all in an open floor plan leaves plenty of room for maneuvering around. The residents can arrange their furniture to their liking even in the future. The freedom of movement alone is a big plus point of having an open floor plan in place.
Ensuring that no feature requires more than 5 pounds of force
As you grow old, you no longer have the strength to maneuver around that you used to have, and you may not have the strength you once did either. Therefore, accommodating as many features as possible that don’t require much force for pushing and pulling is ideal. Make sure that everything is functional and requires less than 5 pounds of force.
Make sure to install bright, functional lighting throughout the house. This can be a lifesaver for elderly who are keen on doing detail-oriented tasks or simply like to read a lot. Even if the person doesn’t do such tasks, functional and bright lighting is always a plus point and something a home designed for an elderly person should always have. As we age, lighting becomes critical for safety. We don’t see as well or as clearly and lighting in halls, under cabinets and in small areas are very important.
Pay attention to their growing needs and difficulties
If the elderly person is still living with you, make it a point to observe what kind of struggles they face every single day. Look into their special needs that you wouldn’t normally notice. Make a list of both the things that matter to them. You may be surprised at the simple things you take for granted that are so important to their well-being. Additionally, working with a healthcare professional may also give valuable insight into certain areas of difficulties. When you have this information, you will be able to incorporate features in your home that meet their needs and help them overcome everyday challenges.
When it comes to homes built for seniors, you have to remember that it’s the little things that, in the end, amount to bigger things. Therefore, take into account every small detail to ensure your loved ones can continue to live their best life! Only then you can create a comfortable living space for your loved ones.