There are senior citizens in most Indian homes. It is customary to live with one’s parents whether one is single or married – but most homes don’t account for changed circumstances of age and diminishing physical ability of the elderly. With failing eyesight and hearing, loss of confidence, lack of mobility, senior citizens are especially vulnerable to accidents by falling and slipping at home. Most conventional home designs are not friendly towards older age groups. If you are thinking of redesigning a bedroom for elderly users, this is the right article for you to get started.
From buying the right curtains online to installing hazard-proof surfaces, here’s what you need to know about designing for an elderly family member:
#1 Rougher textures on the floors.
Aged persons lose their hand-eye coordination and their vision as they age, and are in danger of slipping and injuring themselves. Glossy tiles that can be used in other parts of the house should certainly not be used in an elderly person’s room. Instead, invest in rough textured tiles for their bedroom and create a ‘walkway’ using the same tiles in other floor areas of the house, such that it creates a space for the person to use and also makes an interesting floor pattern with other tiles. The rough texture is better for grip and protection during walking. If you cannot change the floor tiling in part or full, you can try installing thin floor rugs but have these pasted securely on the floor to avoid tripping hazards.
#2 New curtains.
A senior citizen’s room must be brighter than other rooms in the house to account for diminishing vision and lack of ability to see things even at close range. But that is not to say that the room must be flooded with natural and/or artificial light. Invest in a set of blackout curtains for the windows if the room is a West- or South-facing one – these curtains cut out glare completely. If the natural light is soft, get thin cotton curtains to diffuse some while retaining most of it. If you don’t want them to lock their door at night for easier access during an emergency, install a beautiful set of long door curtains that will give privacy.
#3 Rails in the bathroom and toilet.
The bathroom and toilet are wet areas, and are ripe for potential accidents. Try and incorporate supportive railing next to the toilet bowl and the shower areas. The elderly user can grip these and hoist themselves up after using the facilities, instead of having to struggle to stand up after sitting down.
#4 Higher seating spots.
Many senior citizens have arthritic hips and knees, painful backs and frozen shoulders. The low, cosy couch that suits the living room and younger users, may become difficult to use for a senior citizen in pain. Get a furniture brand to customise their bedroom furniture so that the beds and sofa chair(s) in the room are higher than conventional standards. The increased height makes it easier to sit down and get up again, without as much squatting as normal furniture requires.
#5 Install storage at elbow or floor height.
Frozen shoulders and painful elbows can make it tough to open overhead storage cabinets. If you absolutely cannot replace the overhead storage, then do install an easy ladder for the user to stand on when operating the furniture. If you can knock off the overhead storage, install it at elbow or floor height which is easier to access. If necessary, put a chair next to the cabinet so the person may sit and look for something inside the cabinet.
Create your own bedroom story with Story@Home
As India’s leading home furnishings and furniture store, we pride ourselves on the widest range of items to choose from. Buy from our store online when remodelling an elderly person’s room and avail of a wide range of bed linen, bathroom linen, online curtains and drapes, floor rugs, chairs and tables, etc. When there is a design story waiting to unfold, Story@Home has the best solutions at hand.