After crossing the phase of youth and adulthood, all of us witness a slow decline in physical potential, stamina, flexibility, maneuvering, and tolerance. A number of conditions aid to this process of aging. There are so many physical inabilities and declinations that can pose problems in regular living.
Each one age differently, some may suffer vision and/or hearing impairment whereas others might suffer from diminished physical abilities. It is thus essential to modify house based on the special requirements of the elderly. Areas such as ramps, stairs, toilets, kitchens, etc. are frequently used and require modification so that can be accessed comfortably and safely. Some of such physical declinations are explained below, along with recommendation that can enable boost physical and functional restrictions.
Older people witness a greater ratio of blindness than any other age bracket. Changes in vision expedite after reaching 50 and intensify after crossing 65. The eye lens becomes opaque and yellow, diminishing its potential to identify similar looking colors. Fortunately, vision loss is not counted as the severely handicapping conditions. Such people can adapt to certain environmental situations and can lead a happy life. Simple tips that can enable a visually disable person adapt to the circumstance may include:
- Clearly mark accident prone modifications in floor levels.
- Remove furniture from walking areas.
- Adjust the lighting arrangement in your home. Use increased wattage light bulbs in right places. Avoid glare and distribute the light evenly.
- Use yellow-orange and red colors in your house which are easily distinguished.
- Avoid using similar looking colors together. Use contrasting colors to differentiate between places.
Hearing loss is one of the most general disabilities among older people. With aging, people lose nerve sensitivity of inner ear bone which leads to hearing inability, particularly in the higher frequencies. Appropriate emergency communication aids are important for deaf people. Following could be the ideal remedy to combat hearing inability:
- For easy communication, be in the peaceful corner of a room which is away from group noises.
- Be there from where you can hear a conversation.
- Put carpet on the floors and curtains in the windows, to cut down noises and loud echoes.
- Purchase special electronic aids like hearing devices, vibrating alarm clocks, and an amplified television or flashing lights to get information and warnings.
- As your telephone service provider for signal devices, amplified handsets, and extension bells.
Arthritis is mostly found as disability among older people. It can lead to painful regression of the joints, which restricts mobility.
If you are suffering arthritis you can install large lever type devices on faucets, appliance knobs and door latches.
Range of Reach
An individual confined to a wheelchair or chair is restricted to a maximum side reach of 54" and a maximum reach of 48" in the front part. The highest reach from a seating position is approximately 9" to the side and 12" to the front part.
Disorientation, Frailty and Dizziness
Aging also bring occasional dizziness and a chronic condition may lead to disorientation, constant dizziness or weakness which can transform familiar environments hostile. Under these circumstances furnishings that are devoid of sharp edges and are stable can be used to minimize the incident of any accident. Following could be some other tips:
- Remove scatter rugs, clutter and sharp objects and keep the layout of furniture and pathways same.
- You can also place barriers at accident prone locations to ward off any hazardous incident.
Moving from one place to another and using stair could be extremely difficult for old people. You can overcome such troubles by relocating living spaces and bedrooms onto the same level, by placing convenient storage areas, and by discarding hazards on ways between mostly used rooms. You can also place necessary household items where they are easily reached by old people and required minimum bending, turning, reaching and carrying.