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Friday 22 April 2016

Smart Tips for Elderly-Safe Living Spaces

Our homes are made all the more warm by the presence of loving elders who raised us.
They are the ones to whom we owe our current life of comfort, opportunity and security.
It is imperative that we make their lives comfortable, safe and secure in their feebler years.
For those, advancing in their years, for those staying far away from their aging parents and for those having elders at home, sharing these tips and ideas to consider while designing/redesigning homes with senior members. 

Using the principles of universal design homes can be made senior-friendly.
1) Easy to handle: A simple thing like a door knob can prove to be a challenge for aging trembling or arthritic hands. A shift to lever type of handles for doors, faucets/taps wherever possible makes life much easier.

2) Safe floors: Many elderly folk are prone to injuries sustained by slips and falls on slippery/wet flooring. To make movement safe and to have a firm footing, opt for anti-skid, matte or rough flooring in all areas and especially in wet areas. Place carpets/area rugs with consideration to elders using walkers or wheel-chairs. Avoid level changes at thresholds within the house or keep them as flush with the rest of the floor as possible.
3) Make steps safe: For homes on different levels or with steps, make the steps safe by keeping them broad, preferably with handrails on both sides and very clearly lit in the day and night. Options of Stair Lift Chairs are also worth considering. Newer home lifts such as those from Stiltz-The Home Lift Company are very versatile, occupying minimum floor space and civil work.

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4) Light and bright: For the elderly the lighting in the home needs to be bright through the day and of course in the night. While being bright try to tone down the glare using proper shades. Overall ambient and task lighting is more important to consider here, especially at the entrances, thresholds, around corners, in washrooms, staircases, passages and corridors etc.
5) Washrooms that are safe: Keep the plan for the elder washroom in simple straight lines. Compulsorily have anti-skid/mosaic tile flooring. Effective shower drains, grab rails or grip bars must be provided all along the area or specifically next to the WC and shower area.
Plan the heights of fixtures, basins and WC as per convenience or requirement. For instance the wash basin and counter could be lowered for those using wheel-chairs or increased for those who having trouble bending.

For more detailed planning of Bathroom for Elders, VISIT HERE
6) Use Technology for Safety and Peace of Mind: Technology is here to help live safer for our dear seniors. It especially makes sense to consider employing these if you are living away from them and constantly worrying about them. There are wireless pendants or motion sensors that activate a phone in case of falls; health-monitoring devices that can be applied to a parent's unit, as a motion-detector; devices that monitor vital signs, or even manage medications.
In addition for elders living by themselves, it is mandatory to install good home-security and burglar alarm systems.
Check out these Tech resources HERE - Resource 1, Resource2, Resource 3, Resource 4
7) Furniture for the elders: While selecting furniture, go in for sturdy instead of springy comfort especially for sofas and beds as it may be difficult for them to pull themselves out of downy surfaces. Custom-made heights and also special additions like adjustable backrest for bed can be made as required. Custom-made wardrobes of low height, easy to view, more hanging space, with easy to handle hardware, with inbuilt vanity mirror, automatic door-open lighting, would be ideal.
8) Make your Elderly room a happy place: Colors are one of the easiest tools to liven up the elder’s room. Soft pinks and greens can help them feel at peace, while soothing hues of red and orange can improve energy levels. Darker color on wall tiles can help them easily spot the light colored toilet/sink. 
Walls adorned with framed memories of their past and present will be a feature they are sure to treasure! Plan to have a music system or a television in their room so that they can enjoy their selection of music/programs to watch.
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A small area in their room demarcated for a shrine or prayer would be a very thoughtful gesture.
A desk with a sturdy chair and internet connectivity could be a blessing to connect with loved ones over the web while a rocking chair/armchair with a bookshelf could help them relax comfortably. A bedside table/nightstand with a telephone point is a must and so are bedside lights, emergency buzzers and night-lights.
These were a few ideas that one could employ very easily in homes to make them conducive, safe and comfortable for the dearly loved ones.
Do share this post widely to help more folks employ thoughtful planning for their elderly.
I would be glad to know through your comments if you find these ideas useful and do add any suggestions you may have.

A recently launched start-up company name ZOCTR aims at providing quality elderly healthcare support systems at your home:

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