“Customizing” new homes for seniors

In order to improve the living conditions of the elderly and reduce their risk of accidents at home, many old communities have carried out home aging transformation according to the physiological changes and living habits of the elderly. These warm-hearted and intelligent transformation projects make the elderly have less stumbling obstacles such as “foot down”, “can’t sit down”, “can’t get up” and “can’t reach” at home, and have a safe, secure and comfortable living experience.

Ground Modification: Reduce bumps

90-year-old grandfather Yu’s family lives in Huayang Road, Changning District, Shanghai. The “old man’s house” where he lives alone has fallen into disrepair, and many places in the house are not only inconvenient for the elderly, but also may cause safety accidents. What worries Grandpa Yu the most is the upturned floor at home. These upturned corners formed a small height difference, which always made him worry that he would trip up. After the renovation, all the floors of Grandpa Yu’s house were replaced, the floors of the bedroom and living room were covered with bamboo and wood carbon fiber floors, and the floors of the bathroom and kitchen were covered with non-slip tiles.

As the center of gravity of the body structure shifts forward, the body bends forward and causes gait disorders, and most elderly people do not lift their legs high when walking, and the strength of the soles of their feet is weakened. There are often small height differences in thresholds, sliding doors, entrances to steps, and parts where different floor materials meet, and the elderly can easily trip in these places. In the transformation, the smaller the height difference, the more to be eliminated, in the kitchen and bathroom to choose the water can also achieve non-slip floor materials, such as artificial stone, cork flooring and other materials with slightly rough surface and good water absorption. In addition to anti-slip, the durability should also be considered when selecting the floor material to ensure that the ground is not easy to wear when the elderly use assistive devices such as crutches and wheelchairs.

In the case of wheelchairs, crutches, etc., the posture, movement, speed, and pace of walking of the elderly are different. When carrying out home aging renovation, the ground should be designed differently according to the physical condition of each elderly person. For example, lay anti-slip bricks or non-slip floor glue indoors to avoid the elderly from slipping and improving safety; Lay cement ramps or movable ramps made of rubber and other materials to ensure smooth ground, no height difference obstacles in the home, and convenient wheelchair access. In addition, the ground can be flattened and hardened, and handrails can be installed at the height difference to assist the elderly to walk.

“Never worry about falling at home again.” Grandma Cai, 86, who lives in Weizi Street, Guangling District, Yangzhou City, Jiangsu Province, said. The toilet is treated with non-slip, and it is not easy to slip even if there is water on the ground; Install handrails next to the toilet to give the elderly an extra security when sitting together; Install a night light in the bedroom, so that the elderly can see clearly under their feet when they get up at night, walk steadily, walk safely… After a series of home aging renovations, Grandma Cai’s home has become safer and more comfortable. In 2020, Yangzhou City carried out age-appropriate transformation for thousands of families with special poverty, subsistence allowances and other difficult objects, and many elderly people like Grandma Cai no longer have to worry about problems such as foot decline, small height difference, and nowhere to help that often occur at home.

I accidentally slipped when I got up at night, I got dizzy when I got up when I went to the toilet… With the advancement of home aging transformation, these unexpected situations that often occur in the home life of the elderly have been largely avoided. In order to reduce the risk of bumps and bumps in the elderly at home, the swing door can be changed to a sliding door according to demand, and the narrower door opening can be widened to increase the width of the passage; Install automatic induction lamps, people walk the lights off, while avoiding direct light sources, strong stimulating light sources irradiation, assist the elderly to get up and use at night; Install anti-collision protection corners or anti-collision strips in the sharp corners or corners of furniture to avoid bumps and scratches by the elderly, and paste anti-slip strips, warning strips, etc. if necessary.

Bedroom Makeover: Improve sleep quality

The bed is the most core furniture in the bedroom, and a comfortable bed can allow the elderly to better maintain a correct lying position, which can not only reduce their symptoms and pain, but also reduce fatigue and prevent complications. For example, elderly people with heart disease and high blood pressure will feel uncomfortable due to a decrease in heart rate and reduced blood flow to various organs when lying down to rest, and need to choose a bed of the right size, soft and hard to ensure stable and high-quality sleep. When choosing a bed for the elderly, it is necessary to consider whether the elderly couple share the bed, but also consider the sleeping posture and physical condition of the elderly. At the same time, there should be a suitable space around the bed to facilitate the installation of barrier-free facilities and nursing equipment.

Sit up, lie flat, lift your legs, drop your legs… These simple movements have many difficulties for disabled elderly people. In the process of nursing the elderly, if the method and strength are not well grasped, it is easy to bring harm to the elderly, so it is necessary to configure corresponding nursing equipment. For the elderly who need to stay in bed for a long time, it is necessary to install bedside guardrails to assist the elderly to get up, get in and out of bed, prevent rolling over and rolling out of bed, and ensure the safety of sleep and activities of the elderly; Equipped with anti-pressure ulcer pads to avoid severe pressure ulcers in elderly people who have been in wheelchairs or bedridden for a long time; The nursing bed is equipped to facilitate the elderly to complete actions such as getting up, turning over, getting in and out of bed, etc.

In Shuangdongfang Community, Wenjiao Street, Jiangbei District, Ningbo City, Zhejiang Province, relevant departments equipped a three-fold double-shake nursing bed for the elderly Cen Xingdi with mobility problems during the renovation. The nursing bed can flexibly change its orientation by lifting and lowering as a whole and adjusting the height of the bed, so that the elderly can move their bodies appropriately. The armrests fixed to the side of the bed can also make the elderly more labor-saving when they get up independently, so that the elderly can live a little more autonomously. At the same time, the nursing bed provides more choices for the elderly from the perspective of care, which is convenient for family members and caregivers to care for the elderly and reduce the physical burden.

Wang Daoyuan, who lives in Hongcheng Mingdu Community, Jingkou Street, Shapingba District, Chongqing City, is 82 years old this year, and his life is basically taken care of by his wife. Due to hemiplegia, Wang Daoyuan can only walk less than 1 meter without relying on the help of others, so the bedroom has become the most common place for him to stay at home. In response to the needs of Wang Daoyuan and his wife, the relevant departments focused on transforming the bedroom. In order to facilitate the elderly to get up, handrails are installed next to the bed; In order to allow the elderly to see the road clearly at night, sensor night lights are installed in the room. In addition, in order to allow the elderly to quickly get in touch with social workers and volunteers in the event of an accident, an emergency call button is also installed next to the bed, which can realize one-click help. Similar to the function of the emergency call button, the elderly can also choose to install a bedside pager during the renovation. The device can be linked to the mobile phone of the elderly family member or caregiver through the wireless network, and can make calls in the event of an emergency.

In addition to beds, smart sensor lights, and emergency call buttons, there are many good helpers for aging transformation in the bedroom. For example, age-appropriate bedside tables with bezels to prevent objects from slipping; It can realize heart rate, respiration rate, wake up and out of bed behavior monitoring, when the occurrence of leaving bed, abnormal heart rate, etc., can remind the family by voice and other means of sleep monitor; a bedside camera that uses artificial intelligence technology to provide video care; Installed in a high wardrobe compartment, it is lifted and lowered by hydraulic devices, allowing the elderly to take clothes without strenuous clothes hanging.

Kitchen and bathroom renovation: to ensure safety and comfort

“The kitchen looks beautiful and I’m in a happy mood.” Grandpa Shen, who lives in Jinzhu New Village, West Lake District, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, is 87 years old this year. In his 3-square-meter kitchen, spatulas, spoons, and rags hang behind wooden doors, walls and floors are basically cement, cement stoves are incomplete, sinks leak… After the age-appropriate renovation, the kitchen was equipped with an integrated suspended ceiling, the floor was fitted with tiles with anti-slip function, and exposed water and gas pipes were wrapped. The relevant departments also customized countertops and cabinets for the elderly, and newly installed built-in double cooktops and stainless steel sinks.

When transforming the kitchen to be suitable for aging, we should not only pay attention to functionality, but also try to reduce the difficulty of operation of various facilities, reduce the physical burden of the elderly when cooking, and ensure safety and comfort. In order to facilitate the operation of wheelchairs or short elderly people, the height of the operating table, stove and washing sink can be lowered or there is room for knees under them; Install a drop-down storage basket, and set an open middle cabinet and a middle shelf under the hanging cabinet to facilitate the elderly to access and place items.

The elderly have insufficient arm and waist and abdominal strength, and there will be certain safety risks when lifting heavier tableware, and the integrated design of the operation table and the dining table can be adopted to avoid the elderly from extracting heavier tableware, or design a layout that can smoothly reach the restaurant and easily enter and exit the kitchen to reduce mobile operations. In addition, kitchen wall materials such as stainless steel and large tiles that are easy to clean can also be selected; Install smart sensor faucets; Install intelligent alarm devices such as smoke alarms to remind you of sound and light alarms when there are risks such as fire and gas leakage to avoid disasters.

Grandma Li is 94 years old and lives alone in Jiangbei Community, Jianghan District, Wuhan City, Hubei Province. Two accidental falls made Grandma Li falter, often having to hold things when walking around the house, and it was even more inconvenient to go to the bathroom or bathe. Installation of non-slip handrails, sprays, bath bombs, squatting toilets replaced with toilets, dilapidated unsafe wooden doors were replaced, walls and floors were tiled, and the original height difference of 25 cm between the bathroom and the living room was eliminated… The 11 renovations, large and small, have renovated the bathroom of Grandma Li’s house of less than 5 square meters, making Grandma Li’s home life more comfortable and secure.

When transforming the toilet, handrails should be installed in the toilet area or bathing area to assist the elderly to complete actions such as getting up, standing, and turning; Change the squat toilet to a sitting toilet to reduce the pressure on the legs caused by the squatting position and avoid the elderly from falling when using the toilet. Compared with young people, the elderly who move slowly often need longer time when bathing, and need to configure a shower chair to assist the elderly in bathing, avoid the elderly from slipping and falling, and improve safety; Remove the bathtub, replace the shower curtain and bath rod, increase the shower space, and facilitate the care staff to assist the elderly in bathing; Install handrails to assist the elderly to complete actions such as getting up, standing, and turning.

Dizziness, dizziness, palpitations… When the elderly take a bath, due to the large temperature difference between indoor and outdoor bathrooms, high humidity, and poor ventilation, the body often feels uncomfortable and there are certain safety risks. In order to reduce the impact of temperature difference on the human body, the design can be designed to ensure the temperature while strengthening the air circulation in the toilet. Install heating, choose floor materials that will not feel cold with bare feet, and avoid colds caused by the elderly due to low bathroom temperature; Install ventilation equipment to exchange indoor air with outdoor air to effectively eliminate moisture generated by bathing. In addition, a detention detector can be installed in the bathroom, which will automatically alarm when the elderly stay for too long.

A thousand elderly families need a thousand age-appropriate modification programs. When carrying out home aging transformation, it is necessary to fully consider the needs of the physical, psychological and behavioral characteristics of the elderly, ensure and improve the safety and comfort of the elderly at home, reduce the risk of accidents at home, and change the “old-age” of the elderly to “enjoy the elderly”.

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