Retirement is an emotionally complex transition, so a the home of a retired couple should be a reflection of who they are and their journey to this point in life, i.e. a space where they can relax and relax for the rest of their lives. Also, as they enter old age, special measures must be taken to give them a comfortable space where they can live happily the rest of their lives.
A retired couple’s home requires major changes in design and functionality as age limits movement and amplifies risk. Therefore, things like reaching high shelves, getting up from a low seat, and even climbing stairs can be daunting, even painful. Older people need an accessible, safe and comfortable home and design that allows the retired couple to stay active in their home is essential for their physical and mental well-being.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Abhinav Gupta, Principal Architect at More Edge Architects, said, “For a retired couple, it’s the beginning of old age and the limits of sources of income. The couple must have a maintenance-free house, the materials used must be easy to transport and must have facilities that can become companions to make their movement and life hassle-free.
He suggested: “Some of these can be achieved by keeping residential passageways free of obstructions such as furniture, low objects, tools, etc., corridors wide enough for wheelchair traffic and of two people walking side by side, grab bars in bathrooms and hallways. Bathrooms can be very dangerous. They must be installed with a non-slip floor. As at this time it is difficult to be seen and to move, a residence should not have furniture that has sharp edges.
He added: “Furniture and cupboards should be of an appropriate height as lower height furniture can be difficult to access; bed with a height such that the feet can reach the floor. Another important aspect is lighting. Uniform lighting without shadow areas and additional lighting in work areas, such as desks, counters and bedside lamps, are very useful.
Sapna Aggarwal, Creative Director at ANSA Architecture and Interiors, said, “A green balcony or garden is a must for their home. Many seniors still enjoy contributing to their profession after retirement, so a home office or workspace where they can do so is a must. Home security is a major concern for retired couples. Their home needs smart technology that allows them to live in a safer and more comfortable atmosphere. Security cameras, burglar alarms, smart locks, smart geysers and fridges – all come highly recommended for a retired couple’s home.
Saying older people also need brighter, cooler lights, she said: ‘Reduce yellow lights in their decor and make sure they get plenty of natural light as well as bright lighting in every corner of the House. Safe movement must be prioritized when placing furniture. Furniture suitable for the elderly is highly recommended. Many companies are using technology to make it easier for seniors to access lower cabinets and shelves. Stay away from high chairs and sharp-edged furniture. Go for plush reclining chairs and sofas. Floors should not be slippery and should be easy to walk on. Ensure that the whole house meets the accessibility needs of older people with suitable ramps for wheelchairs as well as stairs with handrails to ensure easy movement.
According to Sukriti Gupta, Founder of Sukriti Gupta Designs, some things to consider when designing a home for a retired couple include –
1. Bring nature indoors:
After all the turmoil they’ve been through all their lives, it’s finally time for them to live happily and comfortably. Try to bring in as much sun as possible. Add lots of planters throughout the space. Caring for plants will also be an activity for them. Make the most of the balconies so they can enjoy their morning tea.
2. Clean up the floor plan:
The floor plan should be clutter-free and very well aligned for easy circulation. The introduction of open spaces will facilitate maintenance and housekeeping. Public spaces (living room, kitchen, dining room) and private spaces (bedroom, office, etc.) must be separated for privacy reasons.
Avoid low-rise furniture and furniture with sharp edges. Provide seating throughout the house. Soft close doors, windows and shutters must be provided. Lever style hardware instead of door handles. Storage should be planned so as not to bend too much. Switchboards must be easily accessible.
Non-slip tiles. No difference in ground level. Avoid steps and platforms. Avoid losing rugs and carpets or secure them to the floor with underlays. All of these things will keep them from tripping.
5. Bathroom design:
Clear demarcation between dry zone and wet zone. Handle grab bars for easy access. A wooden bench in the shower area.
Well-lit areas. Adequate ambient and targeted lighting to carry out their tasks. Motion-sensing night lights for easy movement at night.
Colors should be warm and cheerful to keep them positive at all times. The space can be decorated with memorabilia from their travels and photos of their family and themselves to remind them of all the good times they have had. Memory cards can be placed throughout the house to display photos, memos, to-do lists. The decor should be minimal to facilitate their maintenance.