Senior-Friendly Home Features: 12 Useful Tips

12 Tips for Senior-Friendly Home

Senior-Friendly Home

As we grow older, our needs and abilities change, especially when it comes to our homes. With people increasingly opting to age in place, it’s crucial to design living spaces that accommodate the unique requirements of seniors. By incorporating senior-friendly home features, we can enhance safety, accessibility, and comfort for our beloved older family members.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, it is estimated that by 2030, approximately 1 in 5 Americans will be 65 years and older. As the number of older Americans grows, the design, function, and layout of homes become crucial in enabling them to live safely and comfortably.

In a survey conducted by AARP, it was found that more than three-quarters of adults aged 50 and older want to stay in their homes and communities as they age. However, one-third of respondents acknowledged that their houses would require modifications to ensure safe and independent living. These statistics highlight the importance of creating senior-friendly homes that meet the specific needs and considerations of older individuals.

In this blog, we will explore some essential features to consider when designing a senior-friendly home.

1. Slip-Resistant Flooring 

Flooring plays a significant role in preventing falls and ensuring stability for older adults. Opt for slip-resistant materials such as cork, rubber, or textured tiles in areas prone to moisture, such as bathrooms and kitchens. By minimizing the risk of slipping, we can enhance safety and reduce the likelihood of accidents.

2. Ample Lighting

Good lighting is vital for seniors with diminishing eyesight. Incorporate plenty of natural light through large windows or skylights. Additionally, install well-placed artificial lighting in hallways, staircases, and rooms to ensure visibility and reduce the risk of falls. Consider motion-sensor lighting for added convenience and improved safety during nighttime trips to the bathroom.

3. Grab Bars and Railings

Installing grab bars and railings throughout the house, particularly in bathrooms, showers, and staircases, can significantly enhance stability and prevent falls. These aids provide extra support for seniors when moving around the house and can assist them in maintaining their balance.

Grab Bars and Railings

4. Zero-Step Entryways

Eliminating steps at entryways and installing ramps instead allows seniors to navigate their homes with ease and minimize the risk of tripping. A zero-step entryway not only benefits older residents but is also advantageous for those using mobility aids such as wheelchairs or walkers.

5. Keyless Entry Systems

Traditional keys can be difficult for seniors to handle due to arthritis or declining dexterity. Consider installing keyless entry systems, such as keypad locks or smart locks, which eliminate the need for physical keys. These convenient systems ensure effortless and safe access to the home.

Bathrooms present numerous challenges for seniors. Here are some features which fixtures can enhance accessibility and improve safety for older adults: 

  • walk-in or roll-in showers
  • raised toilets
  •  grab bars
  •  non-slip mats
  •  adjustable height bathrooms

Consider using contrasting colors for better visibility and installing lever-style faucet handles for ease of use.

7. Wide Doorways and Hallways

Navigating through narrow spaces can be cumbersome for individuals using mobility aids such as wheelchairs or walkers. Therefore, widen doorways and hallways to allow smooth movement and ensure accessibility throughout the entire home.

Wide Doorways and Hallways

8. Safe Stairs

Creating safe and accessible stairways for seniors is of utmost importance to protect them from potential accidents and falls. Install handrails on both sides of the staircase for stability and ensure adequate lighting throughout the entire stairway. Clearly defined steps with contrasting colors or slip-resistant materials help prevent missteps, while a non-slip surface reduces the risk of slipping. Regular maintenance and removal of hazards such as loose carpeting or clutter are crucial. 

9. Easy-Open Windows for Seniors

Creating windows that are easy to open and operate is essential for the safety and convenience of older adults. By considering key features such as user-friendly hardware, proper window height, sliding or sliding/folding window options, window screens and safety devices, clear opening space, and low-maintenance materials, we can design windows that meet the specific needs of seniors.

10. Lower Shelves

Creating lower shelves that are easily accessible is vital for the convenience and safety of older adults. By considering features such as appropriate height and reach, efficient shelving organization, clear pathways, proper lighting, non-slip surfaces, and labeling or color coding, we can design lower shelves that meet the specific needs of seniors.

Lower Shelves

11. Accessible Plug Positions

Positioning plug points in an optimal manner is crucial for enhancing accessibility and convenience for seniors. By considering factors such as convenient height, safety precautions, visibility, and multiple outlets, we can create a living environment that promotes ease-of-use and minimizes risks. Installing plug points at reachable heights, away from water sources, and with adequate lighting ensures seniors can plug and unplug devices effortlessly and safely. 

12. Alert systems 

As we age, hearing problems can become a common challenge. Fortunately, there are various devices and solutions available to assist individuals with hearing difficulties. Installing smoke detectors that incorporate strong strobe lights in addition to sound can provide crucial alerts for those who may not be able to hear conventional alarms. Ensuring that doorbells are audible in all rooms is important, and an intercom system that doubles as a doorbell can provide both convenience and security.

Creating a senior-friendly home is not only about adapting to physical changes associated with aging but also about promoting an overall sense of comfort and well-being. By incorporating the features mentioned above, we can promote safety, accessibility, and independence, allowing older adults to age in place gracefully and with confidence. Whether you are modifying an existing home or building a new one, investing in senior-friendly features ensures a more secure and comfortable environment for our beloved seniors.

home care services for seniors

Sometimes, due to certain medical conditions or physical limitations, it can be challenging for older adults to live alone. In such cases, ] can be an ideal solution. Home care agencies offer a range of services, such as assistance with daily living activities, medical management, and companionship. If you are looking for reliable and professional home care services in your area, discover reputable agencies that can provide personalized and compassionate care for you or your loved one.

Sources

1. 13 Must-Have Features In Senior-Friendly Homes

2. How to Make a Home Safe for Your Aging Parent – AARP