How To Design A Home Suitable For The Elderly


A house should be designed in such a way that it has all the amenities that the residents require. As we age, even the simplest everyday tasks become challenging. So when we have elders living with us, it is important to consider that our houses are designed in a way to make things simpler for them. With an ageing population new homes in particular are being built with additional accessibility in mind. A few adjustments here and there can make the lives of the elderly much easier.

An elderly-friendly house or a place for specially-abled people has the following factors considered:

– The indoors are comfortable

– Safety is a priority

– Every corner is accessible

So if you are designing a timeless house that is suitable for the senior members of your family, here are some practical tips that you can follow:

1. Anti-slip flooring – Lets start from the very basics. While selecting the flooring for your house, ask for anti-slip tiles. Especially for areas with chances of water spillage like bathrooms and kitchens, slip-resistant tiles are a must-have to avoid unwanted happenings. Certain types of floorings are more slippery and with water or oil spillage, the chances are enhanced. Floorings like vinyl flooring, ceramic tiles and pebbled tiles have anti-slip properties that make them safer from others.

Tip: If you have already made a choice of flooring and need to ensure safety, consider placing rugs and rubber mats to avoid skidding.

2. A clean clutter-free setting – To ensure easy and unrestricted movement, the place should be clutter-free at all times. Especially the common areas like the living room, kitchen and any outdoor sitting area in the house. These areas are where everyone gathers to accompany each other. So there should be sufficient space to sit and move around without any restrictions due to the furniture or the décor. More free space makes any interior look more radiant and roomy.

Tip: If your furniture has sharp edges, consider installing edge guard tapes and corner guards to avoid injuries.


3. Consider having additional sitting areas in your house – If your house is a multi-storeyed building with a staircase, you can put some chairs or ottomans on the landing step, but make sure there is enough space for walking on this step. Also in the bathroom, kitchen and the garden area, it would become convenient for the elderly if some seating is there so that they can use them at their convenience. The seating height should neither be very high nor very low; keep it medium for ease of use.

Tip: Consider installing some additional handles, grab bars and balustrades in frequently used areas of the house like the staircase and bathroom for grabbing.

4. Install a security system – If, during some part of the day or for the whole day, your elderly members are alone at home, having a security system installed at your home is a must. There have been cases when intruders entered a house and attacked elders. To ensure that your elders are safe and secure when you are away, installing basic security systems like personal alarms, security cameras, burglar alarms, remotely controlled locks, sprinklers, etc. can be done.

Tip: Don’t forget to acquaint your elderly family members with the basic functionality and control of these devices. Larger homes may also consider an annex or additional accommodation for a nursing assistant.

5. Observe their behaviour – As individuals have different needs and requirements, it is important to observe and keep asking the elder family members about their well-being and if they need any changes in the house or their room. They are the best people to tell what they actually expect. Sometimes, they may need certain adjustments in their bed height or maybe the power cord of the electronic device they are using is short or they don’t know how to adjust the temperature of the heating system installed in their room which makes them really uncomfortable at night. As their caretakers, it is your duty to observe these small things or ask them about the issues that they are facing so that the needful can be done.