Talking about older adults is a challenge.
It’s not like talking about teenagers, or toddlers, who broadly like the same things and are starting to learn diverse interests.
The more mature group after many decades of life include a much broader range of ages, interests and living situations.
Younger baby boomers sometimes bristle at being called seniors, especially if you call them that while they’re on a road trip on their Harleys or rock climbing somewhere.
To them, ‘seniors’ applies to older folks who are slowing down and find it a bit difficult to get around. Affectionate terms include Grey Nomads and Empty Nesters as the children have grown up and moved out of the family home.
Regardless of what stage of an ageing life you’re in, you, like many older adults in Australia may be considering ageing in place, either the place you’re currently living or buying one with a friendlier layout.
If so, we invite you to read our list of things you may want to consider when compiling your wish list for that home or making changes to your current one.
Check out the links for additional information and great tips.
Single level living is easier
A single-story home is the most obvious requirement for an older adult living on his or her own or with their partner.
Even younger Baby Boomers find that travelling up a flight of stairs sometimes hurts the knees. For older folks, not only may stairs be difficult or impossible to navigate, there is the real danger of slipping and falling.
My elderly mother broke her leg falling in her kitchen. Mind you she was standing on a chair cleaning things on the top of cupboard… but that’s another story.
The lesson is, work to your ability and ask for help when needed.
Alternatives for 2-storey homes are to add a lift or stair lift to overcome the difficulty of negotiating the stairs.
Keep an eye on future mobility
Many hallways in homes are far too narrow for someone in a wheelchair.
In an existing home, knocking out a wall to widen a hallway will be a major project and in many cases impractical.
If you are purchasing a home, ensure that hallways are at least 1200mm as ideal, according to the experts with at Livable Housing Australia
Install a ramp to compensate for changes in level if you have trouble navigating. Curved ramps aren’t recommended, according to the experts at Your Home, as steering a walker, wheelchair or scooter may be challenging on a curved surface.
Make the bathroom user-friendly
Scores of people are injured in the bathroom each year.
Around two-thirds of these accidents occur in the shower.
Making a senior-friendly bathroom is as easy as applying non-skid strips or a rubber mat on the shower floor and grab bars inside the tub.
There are, however, other things you can do for extra security, according to the DDA Design
Basins, sinks and tubs should feature lever or capstan style tap hardware with a central spout. Tapware should be easy to turn.
- Remodel the shower so that it’s possible to roll into it in a wheelchair
- Lower the bathroom sink
- Install an elevated toilet.
Traditional kitchens are the most challenging rooms for the wheelchair-bound to navigate.
Even if you currently don’t use a wheelchair, if you plan to age in place, you may want to consider the possibility that one may be in your future.
Standing adults generally prefer a bench height of 850mm to 900mm or higher.
People in wheelchairs prefer between 700mm to 850mm. When designing to suit a household in which only one person uses a wheelchair a compromise height may be found.
The specialists at DDA Design have a range of accessible home design links including several kitchen suggestions on how to make the kitchen user-friendly for seniors.
Install a walk-in closet with a doorway that is at least 1000mm wide.
To make them easier to reach, lower the shelves and clothing bars.
Have the light switch to within 900-1100mm from the floor.
Also horizontally aligned with the door handle at the entrance to a room.
For those middle-of-the-night trips to the bathroom, light the pathway from the bedroom to the bathroom.
This can be accomplished with a nightlight or with motion sensor lighting.
Large home improvement stores carry nightlights with a kick plate that the user can turn on with the touch of a toe.
Doors & Handles
Doorways should feature door hardware installed at between 900mm – 1100mm above the finished floor.
Doorways should feature lever or D-pull style door hardware.
Depending on the situation, outward opening doors, offset hinges or those with emergency lift-off hinges should be considered.
Good lighting is essential for safety if you plan on ageing in place.
There’s a delicate balance, however, between adequate lighting and creating glare. LED bulbs are longer-lasting than traditional or fluorescent bulbs.
To avoid glare it’s suggested installing easy-access dimmer switches, pendant lights and under-cabinet lighting.
Light and powerpoint switches should be rocker action, toggle or push pad in design with a recommended width of 35mm.
Powerpoints should be installed not lower than 300mm above the finished floor level.
Maybe de-cluttering and getting rid of some stuff will help and free up some room.
Read through 5 Steps to Downsizing Your Home.
There are additional links at the end to send things for recycling.
If you’ll be purchasing, we’re happy to help you find the perfect home in which to age in place.
To find out more, you’re welcome to call 08 83961100 to arrange a chat with people that care.
Alternatively, Book a Free Consultation or Get Your Home Value Here. You’ll be in Safe Hands!
Feel free to browse the rest of our Blog for more tips tricks and helpful info you can use.
Not sure of some of the terms & meanings used? Check our comprehensive Glossary, Abbreviations and FAQ’s!
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Like most things in life, these are recommendations only, they may or may not suit your own circumstances.
Regards Eriks & Team Plaza Real Estate