Ideas for building an old folks home.

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j_fung9007, Mar 4, 5:21pm
My parents planning to retire soon and they are keen on design and build a home. I suggested they should make it future proof such as wheelchair accessible, wet area shower, higher toilet seat, hand rails, lever door handles , bigger light switches and single storey. Any more ideas? Any occupation therapist here that can help too?

survivalkiwi, Mar 4, 6:06pm
Check out
It is about building a house that is set up for life. Wider halls and doors. Nogs in the wall ready incase you need hand rails put in later.Level entry doors etc. It claims that we should build for the events that may happen to us.
You can build a house ready for any event without it looking like it has been set up for people with special needs.

rainrain1, Mar 4, 7:38pm
Why would they need bigger light switches, and you can get a separate higher seat attachment for your loo if needed, I wouldn't build the house with a higher one

oh_hunnihunni, Mar 4, 8:02pm
A taller loo is more comfortable for many people, surprisingly enough. Lots of people have commented on mine. Grab handles are a boon too for arthritics and older people - as is a bit of thought in a kitchen. My perching stool allowed me to look after myself with very limited mobility and endurance, though low cupboards and shelves were a pain. A mobile unit that slides under a bench would be handy too for extra work space or just moving things from one space to another. A few weeks on crutches, or in a chair educates the most active of us - and makes us resourceful and creative within existing environments. And as I said, most of the adjustments work just as well for the able bodied.

wasgonna, Mar 4, 9:31pm
Make sure there is plenty of heating in bathroom as these wet area showers can be very cold. The normal showers are enclosed and build up warmth during the shower where as the walk in ones can't retain heat.

aloha3, Mar 5, 6:17am
eye level oven.
Just check the higher toilet, I have been told they are not recommended as it is not the best sitting position (ask bathroom suppliers)

gabbysnana, Mar 5, 6:23am
actually it is the best sitting postion for bowel motions,. Who really likes sitting on these miniscule asian shitters?

blairhs, Mar 5, 7:23am
The best position is squatting. If you can't cope with that, put something under your feet so your knees are higher than your hips.

oh_hunnihunni, Mar 5, 7:27am
Certainly it is. And before they rebuilt my leg and spine and put the metal hip implant in it was perfectly comfortable. Arthritis and muscle wastage because of fusions (and age lol) though makes raising knees above hips very painful if not impossible for many folk, and a raised loo solves that problem.

coralsnake, Mar 5, 10:01am
My flat was repaired and the old style on/off switches were changed to the new style which are smaller and more 'difficult' at times to use.
Unless you have experienced the difference, it is very noticeable.

As for the higher toilet, again, until you experience the need for one, don't say use the seat attachment which means more work in cleaning etc.

lemming2, Mar 5, 8:34pm
I definitely agree about the higher toilet. and it doesn't need to be much higher, just 2-3 inches. The raised over toilet seat that was supplied to my mother after her fractured pelvis was actually almost too high for her: not only that, her cleaner wasn't very good at taking it out and cleaning properly, either.
I don't know that they'd need to put grab rails and such in straight away, just as earlier post said, build so that the walls can take them in the future.
Main bedroom large enough that even with lots of furniture, a limited mobility person (or caregiver) can manoeuvre around all sides of the bed. Plan the wardrobe interiors to have good accessibility, with doors the full width of the space. Lots of accessible storage; and kitchen cabinets that go to the ceiling so they don't have a space on top to accumulate greasy grime. The toilet door should open outwards, not inwards - in case of collapse in there, or if assistance is needed. (If someone is on the floor inside a loo with a standard inward-opened door, the door has to be taken off its hinges to get to them . )

lemming2, Mar 5, 8:53pm
Oh, Also, not too many corners at sharp angles from rooms into passages and around corners in passages into other rooms: negotiating a walking frame or wheelchair in these is a real pain. In fact, what could be better is the oldstyle plan of the 1930s house I grew up in which had a central entrance hall, square, from which all the rooms opened up; and no passages or corridors at all.

maccachic1, Mar 6, 3:09am
Hate high toilets my feet swing above the ground at work

carter19, Mar 6, 4:22am
The caroma opal toilets come in a higher model. I know of several people who have them and they think they are great.they make it much easier for old knees and hips to sit down. Elderly people often have difficulty bending. With regard to bigger light switches, if you have poor motor skills bigger is better.

thea4, Mar 6, 4:37am
congratulations for thinking like this,Llight swtches can be a little too high for someone with limited arm movement, make sure hallways are wide enough to use a wheeled walker and make sure the access to outside in case of fire is free of furniture etc,also smoke alarms are in working order always.

tintop, Mar 6, 4:51am
haha - Reminds me of a bit in 'The Colditz Story'

Graffit on the wall :

'This bloody roundhouse s no good at all,
The seat is to high and the hole is too small'

More graffiti follows:

'To this I must add the obvious retort.
Your arse is too large and your legs are too short.'

tintop, Mar 6, 5:01am
My mum had trouble with the rocker style of switch, PDL now make a series of push button switches that may be easer to use.

tintop, Mar 6, 5:05am
Also hot water controls - pre-set temperature for showers, pre-set temperature and quantity for baths. The young grandies in their house ( even the wee one) now run their own baths and showers.

juli55, Mar 7, 3:08am
Sit in an office wheelie chair an see how much you can comfortably reach and where you can scoot to without tripping up. You will be surprised how difficult even the most accessible and ordinary things are.

jbsouthland, Mar 7, 3:57am
Also wider doors and thought re positioning of windows for views if wheelchair bound. lower and larger light switches are a great idea as is power points not to low to the floor , internal access garage into living area and easy access outside from all entrys . wide concrete pathways and raised gardens. Hallways can have banister type rails but less hallway the better . good idea to also include security and good heating options such as gas as well as heatpump for power cuts etc

kaylin, Mar 7, 8:28am
I would think storage cupboards would need to be accessible. The linen cupboard - not so tall perhaps, and shelves that aren't too deep?

richard112, Mar 8, 4:19am
Is that where that came from? Saw it on a Tech school wall in Melbourne when I was an apprentice. Rejoinder in different hand writing. Always thought it was an original piece of brilliance. That was late '50s & I still could quote it. Now I feel cheated.

punkinthefirst, Mar 8, 5:28am
Google "Lifetime Design" and "Universal Design". Plenty of ideas and choices there. CCS also has lists of builders who are skilled in this area. It is much easier and cheaper to build some things into the design than it is to retrofit , e.g., strengthening of walls for future grab rails, wider passageways, etc.

susievb, Mar 8, 8:25pm
My brother has put cavity doors in his house that he designed.

stuffed, Mar 8, 10:23pm
Think about charging points for mobility thingies. Also USB power points by their favourite chairs and by the bed.
An outside front door/drive camera that can be viewed on the TVs is not expensive and a great way to check what is going on outside.