It’s inescapable! Everyone grows old someday. While we all respect the elderly, often, we don’t understand their needs are quite different from our own. Ailments and lack of agility and balance plague almost all elderly people. As a result, things they found easy to do in their younger days turn challenging as they age.
Designing homes that make their lives easier is the best thing that you can do for them. We’ve prepared a list of essential features that you must include in a home for the elderly, whether you live with them or are buying or renovating a home that they can enjoy.
Irrespective of whether you are building a house or buying an apartment or a villa in a gated community, if the home is primarily for your elderly parents or in-laws, it’s best to restrict the structure to a single storey. Climbing up and down the stairs several times a day might be something you do without a second thought in your youth, but it’s not enjoyable for a senior citizen.
A spacious layout doesn’t mean that you need a large home. The placement of objects within the small home needs to provide sufficient space for moving around comfortably without bumping into side tables or chairs to prevent falls or injuries.
While choosing sofas or dining chairs, it’s best to get ones with an upright back and comfortable cushioned upholstery. Bean bags or low seating is a no-no! If you are getting a recliner, make sure that the mechanism is simple so that getting up from the lounging position isn’t a struggle that might pull a muscle or cause a crick in the spine.
Bathrooms are the most dangerous places as the slippery and wet surfaces account for a large number of accidents. Safety features such as a hand rail in the shower area, a built-in seat or bench in the bathing cubicle and a hand rail near the water closet are convenient additions in bathrooms for the elderly. Choose non-skid tiles and build a shower enclosure, like in this professionally designed home, to keep the rest of the bathroom as dry as possible.
Given the extreme weather conditions in India, doors aren’t consistently easy to open and close. In summer, the heat can make wooden doors expand, often causing them to get tighter in the frame and making them more difficult to open and close. Opt for sliding doors that are easier to handle through rain or shine.
The car park or garage should be covered and protected from the heat and rain and also have quick access into the house without having to walk up a flight of stairs. In an apartment complex with basement parking, try to get a parking space close to the elevator. To future-proof the house, build a ramp for providing wheelchair access from the garage into the home.
Most elderly people prefer smaller homes that are easy to maintain, so don’t build a large bungalow that is too much for them to manage. For ideas on practical garages for small homes, see this ideabook.