To accommodate senior citizens who wish to age in place and live independently, their homes’ interiors should be changed, as well as the exteriors of patios and decks. Achieving an accommodating environment for a senior could entail designing the site to be accessible for the person and safe for him or her to navigate on his or her own with minimal maintenance. When designing or remodelling an outdoor area, homeowners should keep in mind that the requirements of seniors can change over time. Here is a safety checklist when designing outdoor living areas for your aging parents.
For seniors and other vulnerable adults, it’s important to make sure the yard is safe. In order to prevent falls and other accidents, there are a few things you should consider while you design or redesign your yard.
To start, try to create an open floor plan. This means creating an area that doesn’t have many obstacles or furniture in awkward corners. Make sure the furniture you do use is placed with plenty of room to walk around it easily. Strive for clutter-free designs so that it doesn’t appear like a cluttered mess, which can be confusing for seniors and even cause them to trip over things if they’re not paying attention. If you do use plants in the design, make sure they are placed far from any walkways or staircases and are not going to be moved around often by accident (for example, don’t place a mailbox near the middle of the yard).
Make sure there is enough lighting for the entire yard. This will help prevent accidents at night when the seniors can’t see as well as they used to. Finally, if there are any level changes in the yard, try to highlight them with features such as stairs or a ramp so that seniors know where they’re walking and what could potentially be tripping
Low Maintenance Design
Choose furniture that’s easy to clean. Wicker, rattan and wicker-like materials are attractive, but they can get dirty quickly and are difficult to clean. Be sure the furniture you choose is easy to clean with a damp cloth. If the cushions are removable, make sure they’re machine washable and that there’s a cover available to protect them when they’re off the furniture. Choose fabrics that are stain resistant, dirt resistant and mold and mildew resistant. Many fabrics—like acrylic—can be cleaned with soap and water (just use a hose), so there’s no need for a special fabric cleaner or extra care. Keep in mind that certain fabrics—like cotton—will need to be dry cleaned occasionally.
Make sure it’s easy to reach everything. Make sure there are no steps or stairs in the area and that furniture is at an appropriate height—about 36 inches off of the ground works well. Provide shade. On warm days, shade can be key to making an outdoor living space comfortable, especially for people with sensitive skin or who are prone to sunburns. Here are some warm weather tips for senior safety. Consider adding a permanent structure like a pergola or retractable awning; other options include temporary canopies and large umbrellas. Also, make sure furniture is lightweight and easy to move around.
Here at Veranda Club, we believe in providing safe and comfortable environments for your loved ones to live in. Contact us at Veranda Club to find out more.