Home Designs for Elderly Parents—6 Important Considerations

Sheetal Bhandari Sheetal Bhandari
Residensial project, 4D The Fourth Dimension Interior Studio 4D The Fourth Dimension Interior Studio Corridor, hallway & stairs Accessories & decoration
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Do you have your elderly parents or in-laws living with you? Or are they expected to move in with you shortly? The first thing you need to do is ensure your home is safe for them to settle in comfortably. You may have to redo some parts of your homes design to make it senior citizen friendly. But whatever the effort and money involved, do not hesitate to take it up. The consequences of falls or skids can be avoided by taking necessary caution at the right time. Read on for some important considerations that need to be kept in mind while designing or redesigning homes for the old.

Change bathroom tiles if they are slippery

Most indoor accidents or falls happen in the bathroom. Slippery surfaces in the bathroom are the main reason. Elderly people at home need to be doubly careful in the bathroom as their bones are weaker and more vulnerable to impact from skids and falls. It would be best to replace slippery tiles with the non-skid tiles that are easily available now. It would also be a good idea to have a enclosed wet area for bathing as this would help keep the rest of the bathroom dry for most part of the time. If you have a spacious bathroom try popping in a chair or stool as well, for them to relax if they feel a little unsteady. This will also help while changing into their clothes instead of trying to balance on the wet floor.

Attach handle bars in the bathroom

Carron Broughton Bathroom Towel Rail in Copper UKAA | UK Architectural Antiques BathroomTextiles & accessories
UKAA | UK Architectural Antiques

Carron Broughton Bathroom Towel Rail in Copper

UKAA | UK Architectural Antiques

Anti-skid tiles are the best solution to avoid slipping in the bathroom. However if replacing your tiles immediately is a challenge you need to think of alternate ideas. Handle bars attached in the bathroom will serve the dual purpose of providing support for the elderly to work their way through the bathroom and also avoid the risk of slipping. Make sure you use handle bars of good quality anti-rust material so that they are long lasting. Another important thing to keep in mind is that the handle bars should be fitted at the right height so that they are easy to hold on to and walk.

These useful bathroom storage ideas may also help accommodate additional toiletries and towels.

Install a lift if it's a duplex or higher

Elegant stairways are always attractive and charming. However, they are absolutely non-functional when it comes to meeting the needs of an elderly family member who has trouble climbing stairs. If you happen to live in a duplex apartment, stairs are inevitable. If the rooms on the floor above have to be accessible to the elders at home, you may have to consider installing a lift to facilitate that. Stair lifts are available for up-scaling your existing stairway if installing an indoor lift is not possible. Some houses even have more than one floor. In such cases having a small lift installed may work out to be the better choice.

Get rid of extravagant curtains

Huge flowing curtains may appeal to your senses, but does not go well when you have elderly members in the house. Extravagant and heavy curtains will not just be heavy for them to handle but also pose the threat of tripping over them. Older people are not very steady on their feet and the slightest of obstacles that come their way could cause them to trip over. Getting rid of such curtains would be the perfect solution. You could instead opt for light weight, right sized curtains or even lace or wooden blinds to create a more functional yet elegant solution for your windows. For door curtains within the house try using curtain rings to help keep your curtains in place and look chic.

Ensure a double door for the entrance

Safety and security are of prime importance for any home. And it becomes even more important to take preventive measures when you have elderly family members who maybe alone at home occasionally. It would be good to invest in double doors to make it a safer for them to answer the door without hesitation. The outer door, with grills or slatted wood work, can be kept locked from inside at all times. This is a safer way to answer the door and validate details of whoever is visiting.

Also take a look at these sliding door ideas for your indoor cabinets. This will also be useful if you have older people at home.

Install a video camera and audio for the door

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Perfect Integration

Beaconsfield Mansion

Perfect Integration

Another alternative to securing your home for the elderly would be to install a video camera and audio system at the door. This can help them identify anyone at the door and even have a word with them if additional information is needed. A well protected home makes it safe for older people, and even gives them the confidence to manage by themselves in case they are living alone or if they have to be by themselves while you travel for work or otherwise.

Home decor must be functional and practical for the occupants and especially in tune with the elderly as well as young children as they can be the most vulnerable. So next time you design your home/apartment when you have seniors in the family, do consider their needs and make  simple changes in order to avoid discomfort to them and risk of accidents. Now that you know how to make your home safe for the old, do also spend couple of minutes understanding more about making your home child friendly and safe!

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