Dear readers, thanks for dropping by. Kindly note that I have migrated all these posts to my new blog All Things Cozy and Homely . I will blog at the new site from Jan 15 onwards.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

How to make Your Home Elderly Proof: Part 1 - Making Your Home User-friendly


How to make Your Home Elderly Proof:

Part 1 - Making Your Home User-friendly

Interior design is meant to increase the quality of our life. Thus planning for a renovation without considering the needs of the elderly members will be detrimental. Unfortunately, I have seen too many young couples who are too caught up with constructing their “dream” home that they have sadly sidelined the needs of their aged parents or grandparents.

In fact, I am very disheartened to see that so much emphasis is placed in the look and feel of the home design that they forgot that a home is ultimately where our loved ones live in. Don't these couple know that their aged family members have feelings and specific needs too? To me, it is ironic that a house is so stylishly and modernly furnished and yet, our loved ones faced difficulty living in it.
Why is making a home elderly proof so important?

In addition, these couple fail to realize is that by making their home elderly proof also means that their senior family members get to maintain their independence and this means a whole world to them. In fact, the elderly prided their autonomy very much and want to move around the house with minimal assistance.

Is it easy to make a home elderly proof?

However, I acknowledge that it really takes extra effort to plan an elderly proof home. This is because for the elderly, their needs is rather tricky. And many design features such as glass wall which we adored so much are actually dangerous for the elderly and even children. Nonetheless, do remember a wide multitude of technology, materials, furniture and interior furnishings is available today which helps to address to their needs without compromising the visual aspect of the design.

How should we get around doing it?
Let us examine what makes the needs of an elderly so special. Well, an elderly is more likely to be:
  1. less mobile and flexible;
  2. have poorer eye sight;
  3. have poorer motor skills;
  4. and may have some special needs (i.e. wheelchair bound).
Thus, the 3 most important aspect of interior design to cater for the older folks is to make the home:
  1. User-friendly;
  2. Barrier-free;
  3. and accident-proof.

1. Making your home user-friendly

Its not easy to make a home manageable and easy to use for the aged. This is because it is very hard for us to visualize and imagine tasks which we take for grant is going to be difficult for the elderly. However, fret not, here are some areas to get you started. 
  • Storage
  • Place heavy or often used items on the lower shelves or in the storeroom. The same applies for dish-rack, make sure that it is not built too high up. As their mobility is limited, it takes additional effort for them to reach out.
  • Lighting
  • Ensure that the house is well lighted with white light throughout the entire house. The eyesight of older folks tend to be poorer and they usually need more lighting than younger people but certain lighting color may be too harsh for their eyes. Refer to this article on Which White is Right? for your lighting needs.
  • Make sure that night lights is also incorporated throughout the house, It is best to use motion-senors ed lighting so the elderly is able to make their way to the washroom in the middle of the night without having to look for the light switch.
  • Handles and hand grips
  • Aged people have poorer motor skills and thus the door handles, knobs, daily electrical appliances such as fridge doors and even silverware handles must be larger so that it is easier for elderly people with diminished grip to hold. Stairs grab rails, bath grab rails and handles must also be installed. Even angled grab bars should be installed in toilet walls makes it easier for the aged to get up from the toilet seats. Grab rails attached to the tub makes it easier for elderly to climb in and out of the bath tub. Alternatively, consider installing shower seats so that they can sit down and take a shower.
  • Technology
  • There are many smart home products that can make an elderly life easier. Take for an example, installing a fingerprint biometric digital lock reduces the complex task of opening the door to a simple affair of "touch and go". This is quite useful for the elderly or disabled who kept forgetting to bring their keys or have to struggle with physical keys when their hands coordination is very poor.
I will cover Making Your Home Barrier-free in my next post. Stay tuned. :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...