A haven for the elderly

Make your house safe and comfortable for ageing family members. Here are tips to create a senior-friendly home

A haven for the elderly

Pooja Khanna Tyagi

If you have senior citizens staying with you, it is essential to create a comfortable living environment, which can take care of their physical and mental well-being. Of utmost importance is ensuring their safety so that they can perform their daily activities with ease. The following tips will help you create a home that allows them to stay mobile and supports active ageing.

Ensure good lighting

Make sure that the entire house is well lit and there are no dark zones or corners. Consider increasing the wattage of lights. It is better to go for bright white light instead of warm white or warm yellow light. Incorporate night light so that the elders can safely visit the bathroom during the dark hours.

Install handrail on the stair wall for support.

Obstacle-free passages

Removing extra furniture, loose carpets, rugs and electric cords. These may emerge as tripping zones. All the pathways and circulation passages should be wide, clear and free from obstacles so that they have sufficient space to move around confidently. Avoid using slippery material like granite and gloss finish tiles for the flooring. The doors and pathways should be clear and wide enough to allow movement of a wheelchair, if necessary. Additionally, there should be provision of a ramp for wheelchair access at the entrance of the house.

Remove the clutter

The house should be clutter-free and well-organised. Organise the storage in such a way that the frequently used items are in lower cabinets and there is a bedside table so that the elders can access their medicines and personal belongings easily. Make sure that the bedroom has high beds, the furniture does not have sharp edges and the seating has a good back and hand support.

Grab bars in the bathroom help in keeping steady.

Safety features in bathrooms

The bathroom has the tendency to become slippery when wet. Go for anti-slip tiles in the bathroom area. For additional safety, keep non-slip bath mats within the shower area as well as outside the shower area. Add a bench in the shower area so that the seniors can take a shower in sitting position. Install grab bars near the shower and commode for additional support. If the bathroom has an existing bathtub, it is advisable to replace it with a walk-in shower. Go for a raised toilet seat in the bathroom so that aging adults can go to the bathroom independently. The commode should be about 17-inches high as it is less stressful on the knees and back.

Go for door levers

Make sure the doors have levers instead of knobs as these provide better grip and are easy to open and close.

Ensure proper support

Check the house for potential tripping and falling hazards like uneven surfaces on the walkway and driveway. Install an extra handrail on the stair wall for additional support.

Bring the sun in

The house should be well ventilated with plenty of natural light, plants and neutral coloured walls which create a relaxing ambience. Make sure that the windows open easily and bring in maximum sunlight which is a great source of vitamin D.

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