While many of the standard supports for the elderly and infirm can be clinical and unattractive, there are a number of other ways that their requirements can be incorporated into the fabric and design of the house itself. We have compiled a few ideas for you:
FLOOR: Rugs should be secured with a non-slip underlay on smooth floors. Installing a slightly softer, non-slip lino or rubber floor in bathrooms can also help soften falls.
STAIRS & HALLWAYS: It can be hard to tell where one step ends and the next begins when they are all painted white, particularly for people with eyesight difficulties, so consider your colour choices carefully. In some cases it may be worth adding a contrasting non-slip strip to the stair nosings too. Make sure handrails are sturdy and strong. Also ensure unnecessary clutter is removed so that it is easier to get around the house. Doorways can also be widened to 36 inches to let wheelchairs through.
LIGHTING: Good lighting is essential to prevent bumping into furniture and falling on staircases. Internal motion-controlled sensors to activate lighting at the top and bottom of stairs is as important as motion controlled exterior lighting as you enter or leave the house at night.
BATHROOMS & KITCHENS: The bathroom is an obvious risk zone. Ensure strong handrails and ledges are included in your design. A built-in bench in your shower is often a much more attractive alternative to a medical shower seat!
In the kitchen, worktops installed at 30 inches high instead of the standard 36 inches make them more accessible from a wheelchair. Drawers and pull out trays are also easier to reach into than cupboards, and install wall-mounted appliances, which can be placed at more convenient heights.
SECURITY & SAFETY: Security locks that can be unlocked from the outside as well as inside can be incredibly useful in case of emergency. Make sure that all appliances (including kettles and toasters) have a safe mode to avoid short circuiting, and consider swapping the gas hob, which can easily be left on by mistake, for an induction model. As ever, ensure that all fire detectors, alarms, extinguishers and blankets are checked every year by a qualified engineer.
Whether you are looking into making a few temporary adjustments or ‘safe-proofing’ on a larger scale, our team is on hand to discuss your needs.
Book your home assessment with us today.