There are many things to consider when designing a senior living space including potential hazards, color schemes, mobility, interests, and lighting. Seniors need to be able to maneuver within their living area without any problems or obstructions. It’s also important for a living space to accommodate a senior’s individual weaknesses. Many seniors have poor balance, which makes them more likely to fall.
Seniors may have the aid of walkers, wheelchairs, or cranes, but these items do not fully protect against falls and other hazards. Follow these tips to help you design a safe and perfect senior living space.
How to Avoid Senior Living Space Hazards
It may seem silly, but clutter can be very dangerous to seniors. They can easily trip over items and furniture that is not stored properly. Clearing the clutter from a home can help to avoid numerous potential accidents.
You can clear the clutter by placing knick-knacks on any shelves or rearranging the furniture to open up space. Buying or using any ottomans, armoires, or any other storage furniture is another great way to manage clutter. Keeping hallways clear and well-lit is also one of the best things you can do to keep a senior safe in their home.
Any wires that are scattered throughout the room or across the room are also a major tripping hazard. You can eliminate this threat by tucking the wires behind the appliances with tape or under a rug. If you do shove the wires under a rug, make sure the rug is fixed to the floor. Throw rugs can make a room look better, but they are easy to trip over and not well secured. Better safe than slipping, so if the rug doesn’t have a commitment to sticking to the flood then say good-bye!
It is better to position important objects next to where the senior will be sitting so they won’t have to reach too far. A senior trying to reach something that is beyond their arm span is an accident waiting to happen. Make sure any items that may be needed in a certain area are within reach to avoid this possibility.
When purchasing new furniture, avoid sharp edges and glass. Seniors tend to lean on nearby objects for support, and sharp edges or broken glass could cause severe bruises and cuts. Another furniture tip is purchasing firmer couches or loveseats. You may prefer soft couches, but firmer ones make it easier for seniors to stand up.
Additions or Installations
Grab bars, grab bars, and more grab bars! Most seniors have trouble balancing, so having grab bars throughout their living space is a very good idea. This is especially true for bathrooms! Be sure to install grab bars by the toilet, in the shower, and outside of the shower. It’s also important to have a nonslip floor strip for the tub, too. Having a chair either in or near the shower is another great option for seniors that have trouble standing for long periods of time.
Installing lights, especially motion-activated ones, is an additional safety measure that really works. These lights can be placed in cabinets, hallways, and doorways to help avoid accidents in the dark.
Stimulating the Senses with Color
Using contrasting colors for decoration makes it easier for seniors to distinguish between objects. These different colors make it easier for a senior to see where one object ends and another begins. Including greens, yellows, and lighter shades of blue also brighten up a room. These lighter shades could make the space feel more like home. Bright colored dishes can also help with a senior’s appetite by getting them more interested in their food.
Your main goal should be to create a senior living space that will be perfect for your loved one. This means adding their personality to the design. Be sure to include features that are unique and familiar to them. Try decorating the walls with artwork and photo collages. They are easy on the eyes and can bring back great memories. Another way to stimulate their senses would be by purchasing or using different types of fabric blankets. By having a plush throw blanket and a cotton blanket, you can expose the senior to different types of textures.
When designing a senior living space, you have to think about mobility, tripping hazards, and overall practicality. While these safety features are incredibly important, incorporating a senior’s preferences can really take their space to the next level. As long as you plan well and listen to their feedback, creating the perfect living space for a senior can be easy!