If you're an older senior citizen you're part of one of the fastest growing population segments in the US. It makes sense that thoughts and solutions to housing and home design should be to make life easier and safe. Here are some simple design choices for safe and independent living.
Inside the home
When thinking of simple design changes that can help you, consider adding chair rails, or shelves that come out from the wall so they provide a way to aid in balance. You want to make sure these shelves are secured to the wall, thick enough and easy enough to grip in case you need stabilization. Helping to prevent falls is essential.
Another way to make things easier is to have large, easy to grip and open doorknobs and light switches that work with just a gentle touch. Windows that open inward or outward are much easier to operate than windows that need to be pushed up to open, down to close.
Lighting is something to consider as well. Use LED bulbs to reduce the number of times to change them.
You want to make sure that the flooring is not challenging to walk on, with or without shoes. You want soft and smooth flooring so that's easier on aging joints; think cork, rubber, or linoleum. Thick carpets present a hazard because the edges can curl up and cause you to trip. Another thing to keep in mind is to make sure that flooring is level. This will help with any depth perception difficulties.
The ability to bathe without assistance is important. Install an adjustable-height shower head. By installing a shower head with these features, it allows them to still bathe, clean, and take care of themselves and to keep their dignity intact. You can also install an in-shower seat. This allows you to be in a safe, comfortable position to bathe. Keep the shower design simple and without a high step to enter or exit.
A rubber mat on the tub or shower floor helps prevent slipping or falling, as do grab bars. Install a grab bar next to your toilet to help you sit or rise. As well, you may want to have a thick or elevated toilet seat.