As we’re more likely to share our living spaces with our elderly loved ones (i.e. our parents), it’s time we start to consider more senior-friendly improvements to our homes for their overall safety and comfort.
The Philippines has over eight million Senior Citizens (SC) which comprises 8.2% of the population as of 2018. SCs are defined as individuals aged 60 years old and above, most of this ageing population is in Calabarzon, Central Luzon and Metro Manila.
Here are 5 renovation tips your elderly loved ones will definitely thank you for:
1. Switch to sliding doors
Yes, sliding doors are a lot more than meets the eye. In case of medical emergencies such as slip and falls, paramedics are able to get inside quickly and easily with sliding doors than traditional doors. On top of that, sliding doors are also a great way to save space and are much easier to use.
2. Install lever handles, grab bars and contrasting doors
Toss doorknobs out and replace them with their senior-friendly counterpart, lever handles! They are generally a lot easier for seniors to handle and turn. For extra safety precautions, installing grab bars with groove patterns at accident-prone areas such as bathrooms, bedrooms, and living rooms are also a great way to reduce the likelihood of falls. It is also recommended to opt for a door colour that’s of stark contrast to the floor as they are easier to distinguish.
3. Amp up your lighting
Mood lighting is undeniably romantic but a senior-friendly home requires ample light to maximise visibility. Fun fact: seniors require 2-3 times more illumination than their fledglings. Light levels in the range of 100- 300 lux is for normal activities, a typical indoor light bulb provides 150 lux. To incorporate adequate brightness in the home, you’ll need to ensure your living room is set at a LUX level of 500 for the living room, dining room and kitchen.
4. Clear your entrance
Less is more when it comes to decorating your doorway, particularly when you have a wheelchair user at home. Avoid decor that could possibly be an obstruction to wheelchairs and walking sticks such as rugs, bulky furniture, and large plants. To be more specific, a clear manoeuvering space of at least 1.25m by 1.5m is recommended.
5. Stick to slip-resistant floors
Marble floors are a huge no-no if you live at home with a senior family member. The slick material may be all the rage aesthetic-wise but it does not bode well for elderly occupants who may slip and fall on the ultra-smooth floor, especially when the surface is wet or polished. To prevent such incidents, it is recommended to stick to hardwood (pricey) or laminate (budget-friendly).
Applying these simple senior-friendly features to the home may go a long way to ensure a safer and more comfortable home for your multi-generation household. Who says the young and old can’t live in harmony?
Talking about safety for the elderly members of your family, aside from senior-friendly renovation works, it will also be good to boost their immune system to fight diseases. With the current Wuhan Coronavirus emergency, prevention is the key.
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