House Modifications For Elderly
When we look towards the future, we need to look at what house modifications for elderly we should make. Are the home modifications expensive for a low income couple? Since the labor cost is so high, will we be able to have a great interior design for seniors? Are your goals to stay out of the nursing homes and elder care, and create an aging in place home? Then our goal is to provide you with dozens of articles that will provide home modifications to enable your home remodel to have a universal design that is livable and safe.
Whenever census results are presented, one fact always stands out; senior citizens are what make up most of the countries’ fastest-growing population. For example, in the U.S, statistics show that the senior citizens have the highest growth rate, surpassing the generation population growth by 9.7 percent to 15.1 percent, (Driving Population Growth and An Aging Nation, 2019).
Sometimes it is wise to seek a home assessment on your whole property to determine if wheelchair ramps, proper grade on your property, wheelchair accessibility, indoor and outdoor ramp, and any other home modifications. Once you are inside of your home, determine if a walkin tub, shower chairs or any assistive technology could help any modifications for the elderly that may assist in fall prevention. Our goal is to keep you provide caregiving tips that will keep you from slipping and falling by creating threshold ramps, how to widen doorways, install a grab upgrade your bathroom floor, or install a smart light throughout the home.
As people age, they tend to lose major aspects such as their strength, mobility as well as agility. With these changes, the homes that they live in could actually become a nuisance or even dangerous at times. For instance, the kitchen floor may become harder for the senior citizens to navigate, causing aching joints and getting in and out of the bathtubs may become even harder, among other things.
In such cases, most people with aging relatives opt to move them into large care facilities and home health aides/home care facilities. However, in most cases, senior care provided at large care facilities and home health aides comes along with higher costs and expenses incurred. Most people cannot afford such senior care at care home facilities. Furthermore, most senior citizens find it really traumatic to be taken away from their homes, to live in these assisted living communities. Hence, despite the fact that living in large care facilities ensures proper personalized care for the aging population, this move might cost the senior community their happiness and health in the long-run.
The good news is that you don’t have to move your senior parent or relative to a home care facility. You can improve the lifestyle of senior citizens in their very own homes! This would involve making changes in the way their homes are designed, to make their homes safer and more livable. These changes do not have to be very big nor very expensive. Even “simple design choices can allow seniors to safely live independently for longer,” (Aging in Place Guide, 2016). Indeed, the smallest design renovations can have potentially life-saving impacts!
Interior designing is a senior’s home is very important and should be considered with great weight. This is because interior designs have major effects on aspects involving the senior living community, for instance, its revenue, happiness, reputation and staff morale. This article shows some interior designs and upgrades ideas that will not only make the senior communities’ homes more secure but also more homely than they already are. Read along and explore!
Importance of House Modifications For Elderly
It is important to design homely environments for the elderly population. This is because, no one intends to live in dark houses, or homes that are worn and outdated, regardless of their age. Everyone, including the senior citizens, wants to live in comfortable and attractive homes that have the ‘home-like’ appeal.
Good designs are especially important for senior housing. This is because most of the older adults spent the majority of their time at home. Hence, the designs at their home can have a great influence on their moods and general attitude.
Furthermore, the designs of a home have been known to have great impacts on the overall happiness of senior citizens. Good designs can help promote a senior citizen’s joy and happiness. A happy attitude, in turn, results in better health and well-being of the senior community.
Senior Living Interior Design Ideas by Room
“Designing spaces that contribute to the health of the people who inhabit them is a complex task that requires skill and expertise,” (the American Society of Interior Designer, 1975). Design professionals, who have a deeper understanding of the health and wellness of the senior living, can provide the best advice on the senior living interior designs that can help provide our aged loved ones with a safe and comfortable independent living.
The following are some of the designs for senior living and elements that can be upgraded to ensure a safe and comfortable independent living for our loved ones. These interior design ideas consider each room in a senior citizen’s home and the upgrades that can be made:
1.) The Kitchen
Senior living interior designs for the kitchen are especially important for the older population that loves to cook and spent their time in the kitchen. The designs could include changing the kitchen floors to softer flooring. Softer flooring would be gentle on the joints. It would also make standing much more comfortable.
You could also decide to include anti-fatigue floor mats. However, when choosing these mats, you have to ensure that they’re non-slip and consist of a no-curl, beveled edge. This reduces the chances of our older loved ones slipping.
Another interior design option would be to invest in a sturdy stool. The senior citizen can sit on this stool while cooking. This is because the senior community finds it harder to stand for longer periods, as they age.
Also, you can upgrade lighting for better illumination of the stove, the sink, and any other dimly lit spaces. Better lighting ensures that the senior citizens do not cut themselves with knives nor get burned by the stoves.
For the senior loved ones on wheelchairs, you can install roll-under sinks in the kitchen for safe and easy access. Also, you should avoid installing cabinets over stoves. Otherwise, a senior one can end up leaning over hot surfaces and risk getting hurt, especially when their balance is impaired. You can, rather, install drawers under the countertop, in places of lower cabinets. You could also make these cabinets D-type pulls for easier gripping when one opens and closes the cabinets.
2.) The Bathroom
There are many designs that can help make bathrooms more user-friendly and easier for aging adults to navigate. By making modifications for seniors aging, we are able to eliminate potential accidents before they happen. For instance, when building a new shower, you can install a no-threshold or a walk-in shower. With this, your loved ones won’t need to step over the bathtub in order to get in, or you can install a walk in tub. If you are renovating an already existing shower, you can install base-row wall tiles that are different from the floor tiles. This will help the older adults distinguish between the walls and the floor more easily.
In order to facilitate balance, you can add shower rails and grab bars to provide the older ones more support. Also, you can include permanent or foldable seats for those older adults who find it difficult to stand on their own. Another design would be to install a handheld showerhead, with an adjustable height. This would enable better maneuverability and independent bathing by the older adult. Shelving and shower caddies can also be included to make the toiletries easily accessible.
It would also be important to consider the toilet height, especially for those older adults with limited mobility. For the showers, you can install thermostat controls as well as anti-scald water devices. The maximum recommended water temperature for senior living is 120 degrees.
With the aim of preventing falls in the bathroom, you can place non-slip mats on the shower floors and make replacements of any slippery floor tiles with the textured vinyl flooring. You can also opt for a shower curtain, rather than sliding shower doors, in bathrooms with both bathtubs and shower combos.
3.) The Living Room
You can create tidy and simple furniture arrangements in your loved one’s living room. Such an arrangement would ensure easy navigation and also keep the living room clear of clutter. You can install grab bars, especially on the walls that are next to your loved one’s couch or chair. The grab bars make it easier for them to stand up.
You can also consider including lift chairs in the living room. Like grab bars, they make getting up from the chairs much safer. For those aged ones who use a walker, you can arrange the living room to accommodate this, such that the loved ones forget to focus on their stability, as they try to maneuver through space.
4.) The Bedroom
In the bedroom, you can get rid of throw rugs and mats. Then, replace the flooring with soft, plush carpet. Such soft carpet will not only be easy on the senior’s joints but also help in keeping the room warmer as well as provide friction necessary for preventing falls.
If the closets of your loved ones tend to become cluttered, you could consider getting them, closet organizers. These will help keep the clothing easily accessible and, hence, prevent tripping and falling of the older adults over clothes and shoes, as they try to reach out for far clothing.
You can also place a sturdy chair, either in or near their closet, so that they can sit on while dressing. Electrically adjustable beds can also be a wise consideration, as they help older adults get up safely from the beds. In homes where the older generation’s bedrooms are upstairs, one could install a stair lift for easier navigation of the older adults.
It is best to install two-way switches in the bedroom; for turning on when entering through the door and turning off from the bedside.
Aspects To Consider for Senior Living Interior Design
In addition to designing the individual rooms of the seniors’ homes, the following aspects should also be considered to ensure maximum senior care:
Since the aging population is highly prone to emergencies than the general population, it is very important to install advanced communication systems and technologies in senior living homes. You can install alarm systems and intercoms at the main doors and gates.
It should be ensured that the senior living community has enough lighting for navigation. Upgrading lighting in a seniors’ living facilities helps in preventing falls, bumping and getting lost. Interior lighting, also, has the advantage in that it helps a senior citizen know what time of day it is. This is especially important for senior citizens since they spent most of their time indoors.
For the elderly population with faulty depth perception, it is important to reduce glare and shadows, which could create trip hazards for these seniors. This can be done by installing indirect lighting. When you plan ahead with different types of home modifications, please install a few light switches in the home should have an illumination of some sort on the switch or plate.
Also, in order to minimize the number of times that light sources have to be changed, you can install LED fixtures. The recommended color temperature for the light sources of senior living communities is between 2,700 and 3,000, with a color rendering index of 100.
To reduce glare and shadows, which create trip hazards for seniors with faultier depth perception, install indirect lighting. To reduce how often you’ll need to change light bulbs, install LED fixtures. The Aging in Place guide recommends a color temperature between 2,700 and 3,000, as well as a color rendering index of 100.
3.) Color choices
When people age, eyesight begins to fail. Color can be used in senior living facilities to help improve their visibility. High contrast colors can make things clearly visible to a senior citizen. For instance, you can paint the raised toilet seat and the sink white, to enable an elderly adult to locate these in a bathroom with darker colors.
Colors also have an effect on the moods of the aging population. Painting their homes with colors such as soft pinks, greens, reds, and orange can help them feel more at home. Red and orange colors, in turn, improve their energy levels and also stimulate appetite for older adults with cognitive impairments. Blue and warm grey colors have calming effects on seniors and help reduce their agitation.
In summary, bright colors can add joy to the elderly population and must be considered as well as interior design additions. On the other hand, dark colors should be avoided in a senior’s home. For instance, dark blues are at most times confused by seniors to be black, or conveyed as voids and holes in fabrics and floor, hence, should be avoided in the interior designing.
4.) Outdoor spaces
Research studies that are conducted show that there are health benefits associated with spending time outdoors. Going outside helps in the reduction of stress and aches, increases a person’s creativity and brain function, increases the intake of vitamin D, improves the quality of a person’s sleep and speeds up recovery for the sick ones. Sun exposure is also important as it helps in the maintenance of healthy circadian rhythm.
With this in mind, it is important to consider creating more outdoor spaces for our senior loved ones. Or, if you already have outdoor space, you can consider upgrading it. The outdoor spaces must be designed such that they facilitate mobility and encourage social activities. Also remember that as we grow older, we may have a physical limitation or two that we may want to be mindful of in our exterior designs. We need to encourage and enable aging in our future, and consider the types of home that we currently live in.
Interior Design for Seniors Does Make a Difference
By implementing, even just a few of the senior living interior design ideas explained above can make such a great difference in your senior loved one’s lifestyle and quality of life. These interior designs will not only make your loved ones be happy in their homes but will also provide living facilities that are safe and fit for independent living.
Try out some of these interior designs for seniors, and watch your aged loved ones wake up daily with smiles and satisfaction written on their faces!