Safety, comfort, warmth and shelter...how to create the perfect home for the elderly
Whether you are approaching an elderly age yourself, or planning a home or granny flat for an elderly loved one, or even designing units for an aged care village, there are some key considerations that will greatly enhance both the safety and comfort of a finished home
No-one likes to stand in the weather whilst trying to find keys and unlock the front door, much less as you get older and less stable on your feet. A simple roof and potentially some screening can not only enhance the style of your home but provide a sheltered access, free from rain, frost and wind
Even if you there are some steps in your design, keep in mind that these may need to be changed to a ramp down the track, if a walker or wheelchair becomes required. Planning ahead or this can save you expensive alterations down the track, and ensure safe access all around the home
Whilst energy efficiency is critical in all new homes, it is especially important in homes for the elderly. Older persons are generally more vulnerable to rising energy prices, so some up front investment in good insulation and double glazing will ensure power bills are kept to a minimum in the long term. Older persons are also more susceptible to extreme temperatures, so good insulation and effective heating and cooling is important to ensure comfort
To save on bruises and bumps, and to ensure access for walkers or wheel chairs should they ever be needed, ensure all hallways are at least 1m wide (preferably 1.2m if possible) and all doorways should be a minimum of 0.82m clear opening. Cavity sliding doors slide back into the wall cavity when open making it much easier to move about the home
According to aging experts up to 80% of falls in elderly persons happen in bathrooms. Good bathroom designs minimise the risk of falls and help prevent serious injury should a fall take place. Avoid glossy floor tiles as these can be extremely slippery when wet. Install handrails in convenient locations, including in the shower and incorporate a walk in shower for ease of access. Avoid sharp edges and handles where possible, and finally, ensure good lighting and ventilation
We recommend LED lighting, as the globes require replacing less frequently, they use less power, and provide better light. Consider extra lighting over workspaces such as the kitchen sink, and include power points for floor lamps where needed. Also consider good lighting between the bedrooms and bathroom. Another good idea can be to include a light switch close to the bed
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