Elderly people have the urge to be in control and remain independent, like the rest of us, but their age often stands in the way of independence. With growing age, abilities decline and elderly people thus need help in performing their daily activities, which has given rise to aged care services, known as eldercare or elderly care. Eldercare consists of providing senior citizens with the required medical, social and personal care. The aged care market has evolved to facilitate elders with service providers who can help in running old age homes or help them in their own homes.
Special products have been developed across all sectors including housing for the elderly, pharma and nutraceutical sectors and furniture. Most aged people these days prefer to avail of aged care services rather than depending on their families, who might be far away or have extremely busy schedules. Families too prefer the help of eldercare, as they can be assured that their elders are being assisted in every way by skilled professionals. Companion facilities, physiotherapy, medical, personal needs are taken care of through aged care.
How to make your home elder friendly
Elder friendly furniture design should take into consideration the physical characteristics of the elderly. According to a study, it was found that the high scale furniture available is not elder friendly and may be quite uncomfortable for them. The design of the living space, such as living room bedroom, bathroom and kitchen should be such that it is barrier-free, enabling the elderly person to move around freely. The furniture chosen should be according to the reduced height due to the contraction of the spine, ailments of the elderly such as arthritis, back pain etc.
Buy sturdy chairs with a high back and a cushion padding which is not too soft or too hard. Chairs which are easy to get out of are ideal. Armchairs are a good choice as they provide support to the reduced strength of the upper body, exemplifying senior citizen friendly furniture. Lightweight chairs are not suitable for elderly people as they can topple over. Recliners are a wise choice for those who suffer from joint pain as legs can be elevated for better circulation.
Senior citizen friendly furniture consists of furniture, which can be used effortlessly, such as storage, which is easily accessible without having to bend or stretch. The drawers should slip out easily and it should be sturdy, without the fear of toppling over. See-through cabinets are better, as they can help your parents to find the desired item easily.
Beds which do not have any jutting edges and are of a suitable height should be chosen. Adjustable beds are helpful too, as the reclination angle and height can be adjusted.
Footstools are a handy piece of furniture which the elderly find convenient as it allows them to put up their legs to rest better and to enhance blood circulation. Choose footstools which are bright in color such as red, blue and green, and are easily noticeable. Footstools which have adjustable height or have a concave top are preferable.
Together canes and Assunta chair
Lanzavecchia + Wai, an Italian and Singaporian design venture has come up with some unique elder friendly furniture design. Their designs aim to help in the difficulties the elderly have in getting around their homes. The Together Cane (with wheels), provide support and allows them to prop their iPAD or bring along their reading material to a space they find comfortable.
Due to age, bone density and muscle tone declines, which lead to the elderly finding it difficult to get up from their chairs. The Assunta chair helps the aged person to stand up using their body weight and leveraging it with the foot bar, and stabilises the motion with arm rests following their body’s motion.
If you have an elderly person in your home, you can redesign or modify some elements to make it a senior citizen friendly home. With a little thought and effort, your home can be a safe and comfortable living space for the elders around you.