How To Design for Senior Citizens

How To Design for Senior Citizens

If we’re lucky, one day we’ll be the oldies and it’ll be us someone is looking to modify their home for. Having someone to care for us towards the end of our life is as special and as important as having someone care for us at the beginning of it. Unfortunately, with today’s society seeing people having less (or no children) and with the rise in aged care facility options, it is not only special but also lucky to have a family member able and willing to take us in. Realistically there aren’t too many changes you should have to make to accommodate for an elderly person moving into your home however some things are especially important to ensure both their comfortability and safety. 

The Bathroom

Your bathroom is likely going to need some upgrades, especially if you’re not planning to have home help come by every day. Simple things like installing handrails in the usual places (such as in the shower and next to the toilet) will go a long way to increase their safety and afford them their independence a little longer. Depending on your level of DIY you may be able to purchase these online or from a hardware store however there are plenty of aged care equipment suppliers that will be more than happy to help fix things up. 

If you currently have a shower over bath situation you will need to consider the ease of which your older house member will be able to climb in and out. The last thing you want is a nasty fall in the bathroom. In more drastic circumstances this might mean replacing your bath with a stand-alone shower and for the more mobile simply investing in a foot stool and some grippy pads for the base of the bath. 

The Bedroom

The bedroom will depend highly on the level of mobility and independence that your elderly person still has. For those whose physical health is relatively high it is unlikely you’ll have to make more changes than simply ensuring they like the design. However, for those with a more demanding state of health there may be a need for numerous changes. 

For example, lowered mobility or health issues including thyroid etc may have your new house guest a little larger than they were in their younger years. When we hear the term bariatric equipment we automatically think of heavily overweight people or furniture you’d be more likely to see in a hospital environment, however, you may find that purchasing some will make life easier for you and the person you’re caring for. 

Overall Access

Ideally your home will already be an easy access facility that allows for a frailer person to get around. If you find yourself living in a 2+ story home, it might be ideal to try and keep your senior citizen on the ground floor. Even if they are able to get around now, there’s no need to make things harder than they have to be. Plus, if a time comes when their mobility does decrease there will be less disruption to their life.

Depending on the kind of building your home is, there may be some aspects that are simply not changeable. For instance, if you’re in an apartment building it would be ideal if you had an elevator but having one installed is obviously not an option and moving may also be unreasonable. Other aspects you might be able to assist with. If you have outside stairs or a deck you should ensure that there are railings or support options in place, particularly if your older house member will be getting about on their own. Check for any stray nails, sand back any potential splinters and dust of that deck clean solution to ensure there are no stray hazards. 

Health and Wellbeing

Many of us find as we get older that our bodies begin to fail us. If we’re lucky enough to have made it through our younger years we begin the inevitable wearing out process. Whether your older person is riddled with health concerns and as sharp as ever or they’re fit as a fiddle but not as switched on as they once were, it’s likely they will have ongoing routines relating to their health. 

If they have a number of pills that they’re taking daily, you will want to become familiar with what these are (if you’re not already) so you can assist them if and when this becomes necessary. My experience with grandparents and family friends suggest that senior citizens have a habit of downplaying on their struggles, particularly if they feel as though they are burdening their loved ones. Becoming a willing and active participant in their health and wellbeing will assist you in being on top of their needs. 

For those who are unfortunate enough to have serious illnesses or health concerns, it is advisable you enlist some extra help. Whether this means contacting every housekeeper Melbourne has to offer or simply having a carer come by and assist, it is unwise to take it on by yourself. Let the professionals deal with the mechanics like which oil free air compressor is better, or where to get the screw compressor you need – your focus should be on caring for and spending time with your loved one. 


This one will likely happen automatically – particularly if the incoming senior citizen is a family member. It is only natural to want to have an input on our surroundings. While it might be frustrating having them attempt to change everything in your home it’s generally unavoidable. 

If you encourage and facilitate them making changes to the space set aside for them, you may find less interreference with the rest of your home. Get a bit of a DIY project on the go to make their new bedroom exactly how they want it. Pick out their ideal furniture be it bookshelves or a sturdy desk and chair they will be more likely to feel at home when they move in. 

Lifestyle Property