As people age, their homes must adapt to accommodate changing needs. This can be anything from installing handrails to widening doorways. For retirees, the ideal home will have certain features that make everyday life a little easier and safer. This is because retirees have special needs compared to ordinary people. This is attributed to the following reasons;
Mobility issues; As people grow older, they become less and less mobile. Muscles and bones are no longer as young and strong. Movement becomes all the harder. Some even reach the extent of using a walking stick, walking frame, rollators, and wheelchairs for support. Because of this, retirees often need design modifications that can accommodate movement around a building using these aids.
Fragility; The older people get, the more fragile they become. They not only become weaker, but their cognitive abilities also become proportionately lower. This makes them vulnerable to accidents. For some people, cognitive decay is so severe that they might even get Alzheimer’s. This implies that buildings should be designed to cater to the fragility of the elderly and retired.
Visual impairment; The older people get, the more they progressively lose their eyesight. Because of this, retirees often become visually impaired and can’t easily navigate their surroundings. This thus implies that they need special modifications to buildings that can help them clearly visualize their surroundings.
Flexibility; Retirees often have old bones that limit their range of motion thus limiting them from doing things like bending or strengthing. This limits their access to certain areas of a building like cabinets that are either too high that they have to stretch to reach them or too low that they have to bend to access them.
As people age, their homes should adapt to best suit these needs. This is especially true for retirees, who often need features that differ from those of younger homeowners. Some must-have features for retirees include single-story living, wider doorways and hallways, and minimal stairs. Other popular features include abundant natural light, ample storage space, and a private outdoor area. These modifications can be made through either small tweaks or full-blown renovations. Here are some must-have features to look for in a new home.
Wide hallways and doors; This gives access to the walking aids that retirees often use. A wheelchair or walking frame takes up considerably more space than the breadth of the average person. This thus means that standard hallways and door sizes are insufficient for retirees who require wider-than-average walkways and access points.
Good lighting; Retirees need good lighting due to their visual impairment. This can either be through designing a structure with ample natural light or enhancing artificial light. Other than the light, the color of the surroundings also matter. The color of the walls and the floor should be significantly distinct for easier visualization.
Non-slip floors; This is important because of the fragility of retirees. They require floors that are not slippery. A slip and floor of an elderly person are far more catastrophic than that of a regular home user. Their bones are old and frail and a fall might cause severe injury. Because of this, floors have to be modified so that they have higher coefficients of friction. This can be achieved by using special non-slip tiles or carpets.
Ramps; Walking aids like wheelchairs can’t move through stairs. For this reason, buildings should be modified with ramps that enable access for retirees using wheelchairs or rollators.
Lower cabinets and counter; This helps retirees because they are less flexible and can’t easily stretch to reach higher cabinets and counters. Such facilities should be lowered to where they can easily be accessed without much stretching. Cabinets that are too low are equally inaccessible since they task retirees to bend and access them. These also need to be raised to an optimal height.
Open concept; The architectural layout of a building should be an open concept rather than a traditional layout in order to suit the needs of retirees. Because retirees tend to be weak and vulnerable, they need an open-concept floor layout where they can easily be monitored. An open-concept design is also more flexible for the elderly in terms of movement and access. Read more about floor plan layouts by clicking here.
In conclusion, retirees should consider these seven must-have features in their homes. Such features are adapted to suit their special needs for access in abuilding. Such information is crucial for someone designing a home for their retirement, or for their parents’ retirement. It’s also important that someone designing an elderly home should consider installing these features for a more comfortable elderly home. With these features in mind, retirees can enjoy their golden years with peace of mind.