The elderly group is outpacing the growth of the general population. The 85+ age group is the fastest-growing population in the UK alone and is projected to double to more than 3.2 million by 2041 and triple by 2066. As more seniors opt to age in place rather than spending their golden years in senior homes and similar facilities, it becomes crucial for homeowners to design their homes strategically to ensure safe and comfortable home living.
In preparation for this trend, here are simple and effective design solutions that will allow seniors to live independently for the long term.
Consider the traffic flow
While social and health services for seniors are vital, even minor home improvements offer potentially life-saving benefits. From preventing falls by simply choosing the right kind of flooring to changing the colour contrast of walls, warm and welcoming spaces can help address the safety concerns among the elderly population.
One simple redesign is rearranging the living room layout to ensure seniors have adequate space to move around without bumping into furniture and appliances. Choose clean and clutter-free layouts to minimise the risk of falls and injuries. Check out Blocc.co.uk if you are looking for ideas that will improve the traffic flow in your home.
Install mechanisms and technology to make things simpler
Opt for easy-to-operate mechanisms, especially if you live with a senior whose mobility or sensory faculties are impaired. For example, install door levers instead of doorknobs to ensure seniors operate them efficiently. Replace toggle switches with light switches to allow seniors to use them without assistance. Consider utilising technology-powered devices to make appliance and fixture operation easy and streamlined for seniors.
Prioritise safety over aesthetics for flooring
Install flooring with soft and smooth surfaces, such as rubber, cork, and linoleum. Softer surfaces are also gentler on the joints and won’t be trip hazards. Make sure to keep the flooring level to the extent that you can. To alert seniors of level changes, you can change the material, texture, and colour to help them be aware of their movements from one space to another.
Install assistive devices and fixtures wherever possible
The bathroom is dangerous for seniors due to mobility issues like getting in and out of the toilet or bathtub. Installing grab bars is a must as these devices offer support while seniors sit down or get up from the toilet or bathtub. Replacing your conventional bathtub with a walk-in shower is also an excellent idea if you plan to age in place.
Install proper lighting throughout the home
Adequate lighting makes it easier for the elderly to find their way around the house. With the right amount of lighting, the risk for injuries is effectively reduced.
Updating the home to become more senior-friendly is something that all homeowners need to consider at some point. Consult with an interior design firm that specialises in upgrading retirement properties, so you can have a good grasp on what features or design upgrades your house will need through the years.