What to pay attention to when designing a home for a senior

Designing a home for a senior means keeping in mind their comfort and accessibility to everyday items. In this article, we’ll try to help you in your home design endeavors, whether you are renovating a home for a senior or buying a new one for retirement.

Smart design choices when designing a home for senior

Moving is always hard, especially for older people who are well-known to stick with their routine and habits. They are indeed experienced, knowledgeable, and often wise, but they can also be quite stubborn and unwilling to accept change. 

So, when moving your elderly parents to a new home, help them settle and adjust by making sure they can rely on your support and care. Hiring professionals to help them pack and carry their items goes without saying, but also remember to talk openly and address any concerns they may have. 

Practical and smart design solutions are crucial to your elderly parent’s happiness and well-being, and they are worth both the money and the time. Aesthetics also play an essential role, being directly correlated with mood.

Take a glance at the things you should bear in mind when designing a home for a senior:

  • Think about their mobility – movement issues are one of the most significant challenges that the elderly face.
  • Clutter-free living space is a priority – avoid any obstructions and leave clear walking spaces to minimize the chance of tripping and falling.
  • Practical design is necessary – ensure the home is easy to clean and maintain.
  • Adequate and accessible lighting is a must since vision tends to deteriorate with age.
  • A smart home assistant might be just a fun, occasionally handy gimmick to a young person, but it can fundamentally change the way seniors interact with their homes.
  • Regular home improvement for the elderly is not a luxury, but an unavoidable need.

The importance of lighting

A senior’s home should always have abundant daylight, since bright natural light will mean a great deal for each task and operation during the day, not to mention reading or writing. Table lamps are usually needed in every room, though sconces and cleverly placed chandeliers will make a big difference. 

Smart bulbs will enable your elderly to control the lights remotely, which they will be very thankful for. Colors, contrasts, mirrors, and beautiful lamps will not only improve the overall ambient but also help them with their vision.

Methodical planning for a home of your elder

Kitchen design

Considering kitchen design, be sure to include a surface where a person can sit while preparing meals. Standing for extended periods will become more difficult with age. Likewise, due to mobility constraints, spice racks and cutlery should be easily reachable, and not above shoulder level. Floor surfaces should be smooth and level, as well as slip-resistant. Falling is always a serious concern, so you should strive to prevent it. Pendant and track lights will make meal preparation and eating more enjoyable.

Bathroom design

When it comes to the bathroom, a no-threshold or walk-in shower/tub with a mobile, adjustable seat would be the best solution. The bathroom should have handlebars for seniors to hold on to and maintain stability and balance while approaching the shower or tub.

Bedroom design

There are three things to consider when it comes to the bedroom: illumination, comfort, and accessibility. For lighting, bedside lamps are a must for reading and frequent night visits to the bathroom. To provide comfort, ensure the mattress and pillows are exactly the right density and hardness – not doing so is the quickest way to ensure back pain. 

Ensure the fabrics are natural and don’t hesitate to ask if a waterproof bedsheet is needed. For accessibility, make sure the bed is not too low or too narrow. Even if you’re adapting an existing room, a few bedroom changes can improve sleep and comfort for seniors.

Bedside lamps and a meal in bed.
Bedside lamps are a must when designing a bedroom for a senior.

Use smart technology when designing a home for a senior

When considering furniture and features, aim for practical solutions that are easier to operate if your parent’s mobility is impaired. Try to stay informed about new technology gadgets that can improve their home and quality of life.

If your parents already use smartphones or tablets with bigger screens, it may be easy for them to start using a few advanced possibilities of today’s technology. Small things can make a big difference. Smart lighting and thermostats can be controlled with a smartphone and automated, and are very easy to use and operate. Remote-control blinds and curtains make for more leisurely mornings, while a home camera or two can make them feel safer. There are various sensors, smoke detectors, alarms, and other smart devices that can make all the difference for additional ease of mind.

Alt tag: Smart application for improvement of a senior home.

Aesthetic and practical tips when renovating a home for the elderly

Once you’re sure you’ve taken care of all the practical sides of a senior’s household, it’s time to make it more enjoyable with few aesthetic tips. Wall art, canvases, and wall decor will make every space better and more appealing since they are associated with positive emotions and memories.

Dining room with buffet lamps, wall decor, and chandelier.
Take extra care when dealing with memorabilia and valuables, such as wall art, lamps, unique or antique items.

Be extra careful when boxing up your parent’s valuables, memorabilia, or unique items with sentimental value. Many of those are antique, unique, and of great personal significance to your elderly, so carefully pack and put them away so that they don’t create clutter. They should all be packed in separate small boxes filled with paper towels, newspapers, or cotton cloths. Other items you should take special care to protect are photo frames, fragile items such as porcelain, art pieces, canvases, and hand-crafted items.

Design choices will have a profound impact on both the longevity and quality of life when it comes to the elderly and their new home, so start planning on time.

Author bio: 

Catherine Wilkes is an interior designer with a lot of experience in dealing with elderly people gained by volunteering in a nursing home. Her imperative when designing a home are smart technology solutions. Catherine spends her free time on long walks, in nature when she finds peace and inspiration.

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