You should always design your house keeping in mind that one day you are going to be old or one day there will be some senior citizen either parents in …..guest staying in the house. Anthropometry of the seniors / aged one will be different than the adult & children and hence it needs special care. Because the needs of the seniors are different and the problems faced by senior are different. One need to take special care while designing so that they enjoying maximum comfort and avoid accidents.
One can avoid moat of the accidents / injuries if you are aware of the possible hazard and follow preventive measures to make home safer. The first step to prevent accident is to have accurate knowledge of what things can most often of the elder.
The second step in accident /injury prevention is to review appropriate safety measures and make modifications in your home design to reduce minimum risks.
Here are the possible areas within the house where one may meet with an accidents.
Porches and balconies:
Many injuries occur in porches and balconies because of the maintenance negligence of loose railings or posts. Other accidents occur due to the slips on wet surface or icy surfaces. By following a few simple steps, you can prevent serious accidents.
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The steps i.e. riser of steps of porch should be with low riser and in good condition with railing on both sides.
- Railing of balcony or porch should be approximately 40″ (100mm) high and secured.
- Floors of porch should be well maintained.
- Rotten posts or railings should be replaced and well maintained.
The risk of accidents occuring due to doors are most commonly underestimated due to both by designers and elders. There are many different reasons for accident due to doors are related to design, installation and use.
Common accident is trip and fall into door while closing or opening the door catching a finger or a hand in the door.
Doors should be properly installed. Doors that are not hung well may stick and will cause someone to fall while trying to pull the door open. so it should be properly installed. Fingers or hand should be kept away from the door hinges. Doors on spring should not be too quick to close the door, otherwise it will not give the safe entry to the senior citizen.
A simple shelf or bench should be located near the front door. It will give you a place for citizen package or to rest while looking for the key from beg. This will avoid dropping things from your bags or tripping as you open the door.
Accidents occur because of the windows when it is difficult to open or risky to clean. Sometimes it happens that window which are opened toward outside will bang on your head while working in backyard.
To prevent these accidents make sure that your windows are functioning well and easy to open. Projecting windows open away from the walk way and other activity areas. The best solution to avoid injuries from projecting windows are to install planters or plant the shrubs below windows.
Stairs and steps:
Generally senior citizens meet with accident on stairs & steps especially during descent. They get tripped because of uneven riser height. People commonly miscalculate the stairs because of the poor light quality.
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Step size and height should be consistent. For example, 5″ (12.5cm) riser after a series of 7″ (17.5cm) riser can be a serious hazard. A good and strong railing on both sides of stairs will help to reduce stair related injuries. Area of stair well should be properly lit. Dark stair covering or a carpet patterns can be obscure and will make a misstep, trip or fall.
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Bathtubs and showers:
Accidents in bathtubs and showers occur when a person slips on a slick tub or shower surface. Accidents also occur when person’s hand slips from the bathtub surface while getting in or out.
There should be adequate lighting in bathroom so that puddles of water will be easily visible. At the bathroom mirror, lighting at the side is good rather than overhead.
” Warm colour” fluorescent bulbs will add soft, non-glare light. Floors of bathroom should be of nonslip floor. If your floor surface is not rough you can add nonslip mat. Support bars around bathtub or shower area should be installed to support the movements of grandparents.
Grab bars should be located near the w.c. pan. Mostly grandparents have a difficulty standing up from a seated position, so they may want a support of a sturdy grab bars.
Generally, toilet seat is approximately 18″ (45.5cm) from the floor. A height between 17″- 20″ (40-50 cm) will facilitate getting up from the toilet.
Accidents Prevention Measures Flooring materials, rugs, and carpets:
Grandparents get injured where the surface changes from flooring to carpeting, and there is a slight change in elevation. Mostly it happens that at that point they cannot get the idea of a change or may not realize that there is a rug is present. Many injuries happen when a person get tripped on uneven surface.
Flooring should be non-slippery. Sufficient light should be available where needed. Good lighting will help them to see where rugs begin and end as uneven spots in carpets, it will help to prevent tripping. Carpeting should be wall to wall and low pile. Carpet edges should be tacked down.
One should not design the house in so many levels. If there is a lot of ups & down than the senior citizens will not fell safe in moving the house.