Aging in Place Comfortably & Stylishly
When you’ve spent years building a home and community, aging in place is a wonderful way to enjoy retirement. Because aging often comes with shifts in health and mobility, it’s important to think ahead. By adapting your home to accommodate your changing needs, it’s possible to create a living space that’s comfortable, safe, and stylish.
How To Age in Place
Consider how your lifestyle will shift over the coming years. Many older adults experience changes in balance, vision, and mobility. Aging in place design aims to eliminate potential obstacles and risks, so you can maintain your independence.
Safety is only one part of the puzzle; since you’ll be spending plenty of time at home, it’s also important to create a space that matches your aesthetic and keeps you comfortable. Interior design for senior citizens involves choosing furniture and decor items that look attractive and support a reduced range of motion.
Aging in place interior design is similar to universal design for senior living, a philosophy that involves designing a space that’s easy and safe to use for everyone, regardless of ability. This might include replacing traditional door handles with lever-style models or creating clear pathways accessible for wheelchairs, walkers, or slower gaits. You might also install bright, mood-boosting lights that make it easier to navigate each room.
While universal design isn’t always focused specifically on aging, its practices align well with the changes that occur as you get older. By embracing universal design principles as soon as you decide to age in place, you can create a home that welcomes loved ones and adapts automatically to whatever the future brings.
Aging in Place Solutions
When you’re aging in place, it’s important to choose practical furniture for the elderly. Couches and chairs in younger peoples’ homes are often low-slung or ultra-soft to suit active, highly mobile lifestyles. In contrast, the best furniture for elderly people is often taller and sturdier, delivering the extra support and stability you need to manage physical limitations. If you’re dreaming of long hours buried in your favorite novels, a wingback chair provides full back support and adds an elegant, old-world charm to your reading nook. The tall backrest also acts as an easy-grip surface when you need to regain your balance.
As you start considering accessories and appliances, look for items that are easy to operate, even when you have a reduced range of motion. If you’re a baker, wall ovens let you remove hot dishes without bending over. Devices such as motorized blinds or shades, remote-controlled fans, and smart lighting help you control the environment from the comfort of your seat.
In a senior-friendly home, less is more. Clutter-free rooms with clear walking paths help you navigate your home comfortably, even if your gait changes or you need to use a cane. Instead of displaying small knick-knacks, showcase your personality with statement wall art or oversized family photos to personalize your home and minimize cleaning.
A senior-friendly living room should balance comfort with security. Swap out plush carpets with low-pile area rugs to reduce the risk of tripping, particularly if you use a walker or cane for support. Choose models in vibrant colors to brighten the space. Classic patterns will stand the test of time and complement any existing furniture. A nonslip rug pad helps stabilize the rug and adds a joint-friendly layer of softness to hard floors.
As you choose living room furniture with an eye toward aging in place, look for pieces that accommodate reduced mobility and strength. Comfortable chairs for elderly people tend to be firm and supportive; tall seat heights also make it easier to stand up without assistance. For extra upper-body support as you read or watch TV, look for armchairs with wide armrests and integrated headrests that take the pressure off your neck and shoulders. Adjustable chairs for elderly people offer custom lumbar cushioning and recline angles to help you manage age-related back pain.
When you’re aging in place, you’ll spend plenty of time relaxing at home. Turn your living room into a cozy retreat by choosing upholstered chairs and sofas in soft, stain-resistant fabrics; the padded, rounded corners create an inviting vibe and reduce the risk of injury in case of falls.
Many people experience changes in balance and stability as they age; the bathroom, with its humid environment and hard, slippery surfaces, can be a hazardous place. Feel confident as you go about your shower and toiletry routine by installing grab bars in the shower and next to the toilet. You might also consider a sturdy shower chair with nonslip legs; it enables you to sit down safely without getting out of the bath. Keep moisture off the floors with a slip-resistant bath mat that softens your step and brings out the colors in your shower curtain.
Lighting is the finishing touch for a senior-friendly bathroom design. Bright shower lights and stylish vanity lights customize the decor and boost visibility, so you can see medications and toiletries clearly.
If your ideal retirement involves hosting holidays for grandchildren and friends, easy-access kitchen appliances can help you prepare meals while minimizing physical exertion. Look for options that reduce the need to bend and stretch, such as a side-by-side refrigerator or a countertop microwave. If you have deep cupboards, lazy Susan organizers streamline kitchen storage and make it easier to reach items in the back.
As you age, it can be challenging to stand for long periods. A fashionable padded stool or a printed anti-fatigue mat can dress up the kitchen and relieve the stress on your joints during marathon baking sessions. Make sure you can see the stovetop and cutting board clearly by installing bright task lighting and under-cabinet lights; the extra illumination also creates a bright, welcoming environment for visitors.
When you’re furnishing your bedroom, look for pieces that combine style and safety. Start by choosing a mattress and bed frame that are high enough to let your feet touch the floor; that way, you can stand up securely. A solid wood or metal nightstand can also provide extra support as you get to your feet. During late-night bathroom runs, an easy-to-reach bedside table lamp helps illuminate the path and prevent falls.
As you consider the layout of the bedroom, think about how you’ll move around the space. Eliminate trip hazards and create a relaxing vibe with clutter-busting closet organizers. An accent chair placed near your dresser adds a sumptuous pop of texture and provides a safe place to sit while you’re getting ready for the day.