5 Tips on Designing a Safe Home for the Elderly
With the average life expectancy growing year on year, the population of the elderly among us is also steadily increasing. For those with elderly loved ones, whether living together or apart, their safety is definitely one of the top priorities.
While it’s not practical or even possible for most of us to be there for them 24/7, there are a few adjustments that can be made to the home to make it much safer for our loved ones who are in their golden years.
Here are some tips on how to incorporate safety into the home’s design:
1. Ensure Proper Lighting
While low and warm lights are great for setting the mood, visibility is paramount to safety. Not only does proper illumination help one see where they’re going, thereby avoiding tripping on unseen objects, appropriate lighting also helps to reduce eye strain and keeps one’s senses sharper.
To maximise available light, you might want to look into getting lighter shades on your floor and walls, like those on Grain’s Brite White, which help reflect light and enhance visibility all around.
We’re here to help if you need an expert opinion.
2. Keep The Stairs Safe
Stairs can be challenging even for the healthy and able-bodied. On top of making sure that every part of the stairs is well-lit, also ensure that handrails are installed all along its length.
Pay attention to the material of your stairs as well – hardwood, for instance, can be slippery especially when wet. To maximise safety, try to go for materials with anti-slip features, such as our Pedregal or Legacy series.
3. Clearly Mark Changes In Elevation
Even a small inch-or-two drop going from the living room to the kitchen or bathroom can be tricky to navigate, if the boundaries are not clearly marked – the same goes for any changes in elevation going to a balcony or a porch. All it takes is one bad landing to sprain a foot or worse!
High-visibility floor tape, while not ideal, can be a quick and easy way to mark edges. For a more aesthetically pleasing solution, consider how contrast can be used to mark different areas and elevations too: for example, if your living room is dressed out with marble effect tiles like Elysian, your dining area could be set apart with terrazzo tiles like Terra-Arte instead.
For the most part, we would recommend making sure anything you install in your kitchen on a semi-permanent basis has stain-resistant properties. Tiles are your best bet, as they are easy on maintenance.
4. Store Common Kitchen Items In Accessible Places
Crockery, utensils, and anything else that might be used on a regular to semi-regular basis should be stored in easy-to-reach places to avoid accidents. Where possible, also avoid storing plates, pots, and pans in tall stacks, as any mishap may lead to an entire chain reaction.
For a mobile solution, you could also consider keeping such common items in a kitchen cart, which has the added benefit of looking great as well!
5. Prevent Slips and Trips
It is no secret that falls are among the most common cause of injuries among those older than 60 years of age. Particularly in the bathrooms and outdoor areas that are prone to wet floors, it is a good idea to introduce anti-slip surfaces as well as handrails for added safety.
Using a revolutionary new technology, we have created Slip Stop tiles that are smooth, but become high-friction surfaces when in contact with water. Think of it as a long-term health investment!