Grandmother and young boy cooking in the kitchenHaving senior citizens at home can present certain challenges. The harmless house that they live in isn’t as safe as it once was. Some prefer to live in retirement homes, where everything is tailored to their needs. Although more New Zealanders are welcoming the idea of retirement homes, the option still does not sit well with everyone. Others prefer to stay in their houses or to live with relatives. As such, it is important to ensure that your home is safe for your elderly relative.

Designing a senior citizen-friendly home is not always easy, but there are reliable builders Auckland residents can turn to for the job. Apart from a specially designed bed and bath, other rooms also need to cater to the unique needs of older adults.

Important Kitchen Features

The kitchen is a great place for seniors to interact with others and is also a place where they can feel useful. However, for a senior citizen to navigate the kitchen safely, a few changes need to be made.

Bright and Accessible Lighting

A dark space is a senior citizen’s enemy. The kitchen should be sufficiently lit to avoid accidents. Light switches should also be easily accessible. If the elderly person is in a wheelchair, lower the switches so they can operate them while sitting down.

Avoid Sharp Edges

Bumping into things can be common especially with the elderly. Counters and cabinets should have rounded edges to avoid bumps and bruises.

Friendly Sinks

For the elderly who prefer to stand, a tall sink is a must; this way, older adults do not need to bend. For wheelchair-bound elders or for those who can’t stand for long periods of time, a lower sink should be installed, instead. There should also be enough room at the bottom, so the senior can move closer to the sink. In both cases, faucets or sprayers should be accessible and easy to operate.

Sight- and Back-Friendly Counters

Countertops should be a different colour from cabinets so that they are more visible even to those with poor vision. These should also be low enough for a senior citizen to use comfortably while sitting.

A well-designed senior-friendly home can be tricky – but with help from the right people, senior citizens can be free to move about with no worries.

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