Having an elderly relative living in your home can often benefit the whole family. The cost of professional care is becoming beyond the reach of many and, for the older person, living with an extended family can provide continued interest, security and the best possible care. The accommodation of an older family member within the home, it has to be admitted, is potentially fraught, but with some thought and patient planning it shouldn’t be too disruptive.
Home Interior Design Tips For Elderly People
The room you choose for the older person will, ideally, be at ground level so as to minimize difficult journeys and should if possible allow space for more than just sleeping. If it also has a large window with an interesting view, this should make your decision easy. The provision of areas for relaxing, bathing, cooking and dining will allow the senior citizen to remain active and somewhat independent from the rest of the household – a situation that is likely to suit both parties.
Dividing these areas of activity (by employing screens, curtains or items of furniture) is important for the occupant so that he/she can appreciate the changes in his/her day and can entertain without private areas being on view.
Designing a room or bed-sit for an older person is best achieved by placing yourself in that person’s shoes and by thinking through how to compensate for the possible limitations imposed upon their lifestyle. You don’t want to be too pessimistic, but it also pays to plan for days when the person’s capacities could be reduced. Some of the more obvious provisions are:
- A comfortable, easy access chair for the room occupant and seating for guests.
- Bright lighting to help cope with failing sight. Wall and ceiling-fixed lights plus well-weighted table and floor-standing lamps are suitable. A switch by the bedside is helpful, as is a low-wattage light that can be left on overnight. Remember to highlight any changes in floor level. Perhaps also consider positioning sockets and switches nearer to hand height.
- Warmth – older people generally like (and need) warmer room temperatures than the young. Central heating radiators and open fires need to be easily accessed and controlled and suitably guarded.
- Storage at an easily accessed level and with openings that are not too difficult to operate.
- The elimination of all sharp comers for safety reasons, and the removal of any electrical cables that could be tripped over. A smoke alarm is another wise precaution.
- In the bathroom, it’s a good idea to install grab rails around the bath and/or shower and perhaps a lockable mirrored wall cabinet. You might also like to consider fitting an ‘engaged’ door sign rather than a lock. Mixer taps and an electric temperature controlled shower will help better manange water temperature.
- Curtains on a corded track, operated from the side, to ease opening and closing.
- Non-slip floor covering and well-attached loose coverings. A fitted carpet of the type that can be easily cleaned is ideal.
The decoration of the room in a familiar style (most likely to be traditional) and the incorporation of existing possessions will help to make the elderly person feel quickly at home. Inviting them to make decoration choices will involve them further. Pretty patterns and cheerful colors will do much to lift their mood and the addition of plants and even a pet will bring life to the room.
In addition certain electrical gadgets, such as remote control for lights and curtains, could well smooth the life of an elderly person.