A look at the essential present-day needs by K. Sukumaran
When we hear about ‘seniors’ homes’, our attention normally goes to homes or accommodation for elders who are not supported by their families due to various reasons.The type of accommodation, facilities required for old people, and gadgets which can be made available to make lives of elder occupants of any type of home more comfortable, need to be the initial focus. The next stage can be the ‘off-hand’ services that can be made available. In these days of technology and innovations, there is no dearth of ideas to build a home for the aged. The basic need is a safe home followed by accessible and easily manageable facilities and finally security.
There can be more, like facilities to be in contact with the neighbours, relatives, communication with medical assistants / nurses or doctors and even drug shops.
Whether it is an independent bungalow or an apartment, the following can be the primary needs:
Design: The house needs to be designed to have wheelchair access for free movement, if one is not physically fit and agile.
Bed and bath: Bath-attached bedrooms are a must for seniors. The western commode needs no special mention. The bathroom is a very important facility which should be designed and fitted with easily operable taps, showers, waterlines etc. Hot and cold running water, with its self-regulating heat quotients, is the other essential facility. Walk-in bath-tubs can add comfort for the older people.
The flooring, especially in the bathroom, needs to be non-slippery and rough finished, for safe and comfortable movement.
The living room has to be close to the bedroom for convenient movement
On the whole, the layout of the accommodation should be compact, easily accessible, well lighted, furnished with easily adjustable furniture/ equipment/ medicine chest etc., and once these things are in place, the next stage will have to be the search for other gadgets.
The present-day needs for comfortable living are computers, phones, air conditioning equipment, smoke detectors, musical instruments, entertainment gadgets etc.
A gym or an exercise room is seen as a ‘must’ facility these days. In addition, gadgets such as treadmill, weighing machine, specially designed ‘scale’ to measure the muscle/ bone mass, leg lamps for both illumination and to save electricity, FSL lamps, alarms, electric sensors, medication announcers, automatic pill dispensers, and smart pill boxes are some of the modern gadgets available in senior homes. Technology-integrated pillows, with thick top, are prescribed for some.
Another convenient ‘furniture’ is riser/recliner chair, for storing / handling things in the refrigerators. For those using own cars, the most recent facility is the automatic car parking solutions. If there are many motor vehicles in the area where one lives, the car stacker may be of additional help. Park plus solutions can also be ordered/ installed.
Self-emptying de-humidifier for the summer season in places where humidity is high