Designing for the elderly is not the same as it is for people in their 20s or even those that are middle-aged.
Although some trends indicate that homes are now being designed for people to grow old in, it is more common for seniors to move into another home when they lose their mobility. One of the options for those seniors is a senior living community exclusively for the elderly.
When designing homes for the elderly, many architects fail to see through the eyes of the people who will actually be living in those homes. Many seniors suffer from arthritis or balance disorder. They may have issues with eye sight, hearing, in a wheel chair, using a walker or recovering from a stroke.
But the homes are often designed without these issues in mind – that’s why there are so many senior homes with steps. Even the tiniest steps can cause problems.
Poorly designed homes can contribute to poor quality of life. If seniors can’t navigate around their homes with ease, they can’t reasonably take care of themselves.
Homes designed for senior living don’t always require large changes or investments. They can be simple senior living friendly design changes. Architects just need to see things a little differently. Here are a couple small ideas that have helped seniors.
1. Step-In Showers
As people get older, their mobility is compromised. Step-in showers reduce the risk of falls by providing low-entry. Even people in wheelchairs can easily get in step-in showers.
2. Ultra Latch
Ultra Latch door latches are ADA compliant senior living door latches. They’re one of the best arthritis friendly door latches currently in the market, designed by SOSS.
Instead of a traditional doorknob that requires pulling or turning, Ultra Latch is a lever-style that simply requires you to tap, pull slightly (1/2 an inch) or push it lightly to open the door. It’s great for seniors who are suffering from arthritis or have limited dexterity in their hands for any reason, since arthritis patients often have a hard time doing tasks many of us take for granted everyday it can be frustrating.
Ultra Latch is not only functional and practical, but also aesthetically pleasing. The best thing about it is that it can be retrofitted for all kinds of doors. So as people age or start showing symptoms for arthritis, Ultra Latch can be installed to ease the process of aging.
Fortunately for seniors, there have been considerable architectural and technological advancements to help them stay healthy and mobile. Wearable devices keep track of heart rate in real time and keep medical professionals and the loved ones updated. Robotic technology like exoskeletons allows less mobile seniors to walk. Simple ideas like step-in showers and Ultra Latch may seem less impressive, but they make all the difference for seniors and may help them stay in their homes and independent longer.