Renovating Your Home To Be Elderly Friendly

The population of Singapore is rapidly ageing. In 2012, the first round of baby boomers turned 65 years old. The number of individuals that are age 65 or older is roughly one in 12 Singaporeans. By the year 2030, it is estimated that nearly one in five Singaporeans will be over the age of 65.

To be able to age with comfort in Singapore, people need to be prepared to deal with the challenges associated with the elderly population. The family should be the first resource and source of support in order to deal with the physical and emotional needs of its elderly members. Homeowners can make improvements to their existing homes in order to create a home that permits the elderly family members to enjoy an active lifestyle.

Front Entrance

The doorbells at the front entrance should have vibrational or light indicators in order to accommodate elderly individuals that might be hearing impaired. For seniors that are in wheelchairs, a space of approximately 1250mm by 1500mm should be available to make manoeuvring easy. Make sure to remove any obstacles in common corridors, front entrances and within the home.

Living Room

To help elderly family members that are in wheelchairs to move about with ease, install eye viewers that are easily accessible from wheelchair height. Vertical grab bars should be installed at a distance that is accessible from the front door in order to provide support while opening the door. Grab bars should contain groove patterns for extra grip.

Light Switches and Sockets

Light switches and sockets should be placed at a height that is comfortable, approximately 600 mm and 1200 mm above the floor. Rocker light switches are highly recommended for elderly individuals as they are easy to use. Elderly individuals may also require up to three times more lighting than a person that is younger. Adequate natural and artificial lighting sources should be installed in order to meet this need.

Floor Surfaces

All floor surfaces should be designed so that they are level, stable and slip-resistant. When the floor can not be adjusted to make it more level, colour bands that contrast in colour need to be installed in order to alert elderly individuals where the changes in the floor level occur. Grab bars should also be installed near the changes in the level in order to provide additional support.

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