Here are some reminders on how to design a home that's also comfortable for the older people living in the house:
1. Increase natural light during the day. White or light wall colours help to reflect natural light across the room. A wall mirror doubles as a decoration and is especially useful for increasing light in small or dark rooms. Avoid blocking your window with furniture and pull your curtains back during the day.
2. Lighting at night. Avoid using harsh overhead lighting as it contrasts with the dark areas. Use soft perimeter lights instead such as track lighting or floor lamps with lightly covered shades to diffuse light. Use bright coloured furniture and stow away wires to prevent falls at night.
3. Flooring. Reduce chances of tripping by replacing worn carpeting, and use non-skid flooring in wet areas. Avoid hard materials such as natural stone, brick, ceramic and glass as they are unforgiving material to fall on.
4. Stable chairs. Depending on the need of the elderly. Get chairs with armrests or high backs. Shallow chairs are ideal for homeowners with bad knees. Lift chairs can help them get out of a seated position more easily.
5. Grab rails. Install grab rails in places that are prone to accidents such as bathrooms or areas where the seniors need assistance to stand from a squatting or sleeping position
6. EASE programme. The Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE) programme is open to Singaporean households with a member aged 65 and above, or aged between 60 and 64 who requires assistance for one or more of the activities of daily living (washing/bathing, dressing, feeding, toileting, mobility, and transferring). Their subsidised home fixtures include slip-resistant treatment to existing floor tiles of two bathrooms or toilets, grab bars for toilets and ramps within flats. Call 1800 933 2990, 8 am to 5 pm on weekdays excluding public holidays.
Any other tips for fellow homeowners? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cover photo courtesy of Christopher Furlong, Getty Images