Designing a VIP home for OAPs

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It is a well known fact that the average life expectancy has been steadily increasing, as we keep finding novel ways to delay the inevitable. Under normal circumstances this means that our parents and grandparents will stay with us a little longer. 

However, as we get older our bodies and minds slowly begin to fail us, which means nursing homes for the elderly have become increasingly in demand. However, this doesn't mean that we shouldn't create a comfortable living environment for our loved ones whilst they're able to remain their own home. 

With this in mind, we decided to highlight a few key point to consider for the interior décor of your eldery paretns or grandparents.

Take notes and, as always, be inspired!

Select the right furniture for the living room

First of all, in the living room you should remove any apparent obstacles for easier movement. For them to feel comfortable in the house it’s also only logical to include them in the design process. It's important to strike a balance between their personal taste and the need for space. 

For example, if the living room is small, a comfortable armchair will be better than a big sofa.You should also consider that falls are a major problem in the lives of elderly and can seriously reduce their quality of life. Carpets, therefore, should have anti-slip properties to lessen the chances of accidents.

Cabinets and shelves

Where cabinets and shelves are concerned, it’s important they are securely fixed to the wall or floor.

The reason is quite simple: if your grand/parent tries to steady themselves on a cabinet that's loose, the result can be catastrophic. Also take care that the things on the shelves or cabinets are in easy reach as it would be very difficult and possibly dangerous for them to climb a ladder or on furniture. 

While people in general can be stubborn the truth is that as we get older our bodies slow down and can't react to our commands as they once did. Accidents are therefore inevitable but it's possible to minimise this risk with some careful thought and planning.

Kitchen design

When it comes to the kitchen you should put safety first.

Ensure that the kitchen furnishings have round corners in order to avoid unwelcome accidents in the case of a fall. If you want to take it to the next level, apply corner guards and only use a dining table and chairs that are proven to be sturdy

It's essential to install a smoke detector and a good ventilator, if they're not already present. Make life easier by placing kitchen utensils and food supplies in easily accessible locations.

Safe bathroom

modern Bathroom by Visobath

In the bathroom anti-slip flooring is essential. The bathtub should be replaced with a shower that allows easy access, while the toilet can be equipped with arms on the side so sitting and standing is easier. It's advisable to install grab bars near the shower as an extra safety measure.

Another good idea is to include a fixed folding seat in the shower to facilitate sit down bathing. Finally, the shower area should be at least 80cm wide and preferably without any obstacles hindering free movement within the room.

Classic bedroom

​Bedroom at Bedford Gardens house. : modern Bedroom by Nash Baker Architects Ltd
Nash Baker Architects Ltd

​Bedroom at Bedford Gardens house.

Nash Baker Architects Ltd

When we think about the bedroom of older generation, classic furniture and laced cloth on dressers springs to mind. However, that doesn't mean we shouldn't modernise the interior décor for our seniors with simple and minimal lines.

Nevertheless, irrespective of the decorative style, it’s important to pay attention to 5 key points:

1. The bed’s headboard, which acts as a support for sitting or lying

2. The height of the bed, which shouldn't be too low (the mattress should be up to the knees) 

3. Avoid a foam mattress as they can be spoiled easily

4. Simple access to bedside lighting fixtures and easy control of their intensity so the transition between light and dark is not too abrupt

5. Nightstands should be high—approximately 10cm above the mattress—with rounded corners

Comfortable lighting

In general, the lights must be bright and easy to operate. If it’s possible, in some areas of the house—hallways, for example—lights can be permanently on or at least activated by motion sensors. You should also pay attention to the height of switches so they're not too high nor too low.

Secure the balconies

Finally, if there are any balconies or verandas, you should ensure that they are well insulated, devoid of water or any moisture and are generally warm.

In case of an open balcony, you should make sure the floor is not slippery and, if it’s close to the street, consider putting bars on the windows and an alarm for security purposes.

Whilst you're there, perhaps look for some: Cool Things You Can Find In Your Parent’s House.

How did you make your grand/parent's home more comfortable and secure? Share your ideas with us...
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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