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Home Improvement For Elderly Friendly Home
 

Singapore 's population is ageing rapidly. The first batch of baby boomers (born between 1947 and 1964) will reach 65 years of age by 2012. The number of elderly aged 65 and above is one out of every 12 Singaporeans. By 2030, it will be one out of five.

To achieve successful ageing in Singapore , we have to be well-prepared to face all the challenges of an ageing population. The family as the first line of support should look after the physical and emotional needs of their senior members. Individuals can improve their existing homes to create an elder friendly environment whereby elderly can enjoy an independent and active lifestyle.

Home Improvements To Create An Elder Friendly Environment

The Main Entrance

- Visual doorbells with vibration or light indicators, in addition to audio doorbells were recommended for elderly with hearing impairment.
- For elderly on wheelchair, a clear manoeuvring space of minimum 1250mm by 1500 mm at the entrance within the unit is recommended

Clear Manoeuvring Space at the entrance within the unit (Minimum 1250mm by 1500mm)

- Free of any obstacles, projection & protrusions at the common corridors, main entrance and within homes

The Living Room

- To facilitate elderly on wheelchair, eye viewers of appropriate height installed on the main door is advised.
- Vertical grab bar should be located at accessible distance from the main door, to provide support when opening the doors.
- Grab bar should be of groove patterns to give better and extra grip

 

Two way opening swing door by pressing the metal plate

- Door designed to be easy to open.
- Taps to facilitate easy usage (e.g. lever tap).
- Provision of sufficient secured grab bars.
- Accessories (e.g. soap dispensers) to be of accessible reach and will not hinder the main circulation path within the area.
- A shower head with adjustable heights is recommended. It will be good if the shower head comes with a flexible hose of at least 1500 mm long.


Switches and Sockets

- Light switches and sockets to be installed at a comfortable height, between 600 mm and 1200 mm above the finished floor level.
- Easy-touch rocker light switches are highly recommended for the elderly.

Large, easy-touch rocker light switch

- Two-way light switches are recommended for the control of lighting within comfortable reach.

 

Lightings

Elderly will normally require about 2 to 3 times more illumination than a younger person and other aspects of eyesight may also become less reliable in older age.
- Provision of adequate natural and artificial lighting.
- To have adequate illumination, a comfortable lighting LUX (SI unit of illuminance, equivalent to one lumen per m2) level for visibility should be provided.

Type of space

LUX level required

Lift lobby

200

Corridor and stairs

200

Unit entrance

200

Living room

500

Dining room

500

Bedroom

300

Kitchen

500

Bathroom

300

Storeroom

150

 

Singapore Standard 531:2006, Code of Practice for Lighting of Work Places Part 1 Indoor Lighting, Singapore

- Direct and reflected glare should be minimized.
- Direct glare can be minimized by ensuring strong light sources, such as windows and light fittings are effectively screened.
- Reflected glare can be reduced by eliminating reflective surfaces especially on floors and walls and by attention to the location of light sources relative to mirrors, glazing and the light.

 

Doors

- Sliding doors, which are easier to operate, are recommended if adequate wall space is available .

Sliding doors are easier to operate

- If swing doors are used, outward opening would be preferred as rescuer finds it easier to enter if elderly falls behind the door.
- Doors with push-pull mechanisms, U-shaped handles or lever handles are also recommended to facilitate ease of use.

 

Lever Handles

- Door knob is not recommended as elderly have difficulties in grasping and turning the knob.
- Doors to be of mid-tone colour in order to contrast with walls, and skirting, architraves and door-frames should be of dark tone colour to help define surface junctions and openings while contrasting with floors, walls and doors.

 

Floor Surfaces

- Stable, firm, level and slip-resistant.
- Avoid any projection, drop or variation in level.
- Where changes in level are unavoidable, contrasting colour bands are to be provided to alert elderly of the change in level and handrails and grab bars are recommended.
- have colour and tone that are contrasting with the walls, otherwise the skirting must provide a clear distinction between the floor and wall.
- Shiny and reflective floors (e.g. granite, marble, glazed tiles) are not
recommended as they could be hazardous especially when they are wet or greasy, or if they have been highly polished. Floor surfaces of kitchen, bathroom and toilet are particularly hazardous, as these may be slippery when wet with soap solution.
- Keep dry as much as possible.

 

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EXAMPLE OF AN ELDER FRIENDLY HOME


Overview

 

The Living Room

Quad stick with long handled reacher to pick up light objects on the floor
Corner guard to minimize fall injury
Remote control is within accessible reach

 

The Bedroom

Corner guard to minimize fall injury
Rope ladder to assist elder gets up bed easily
Laundry bin for collection of dirty clothes
Non-slip shoes

 

The Kitchen

Jar tipper serves the purpose of pouring water without lifting up the jar

 

The Bathroom / Toilet


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