Creating posture friendly environments in senior communities

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Designing a home for senior communities demands a meticulous approach, catering to their diverse needs. This article delves into the art of crafting a posture-friendly environment that seamlessly integrates accessibility and comfort. From wheelchair-friendly areas to well-lit interiors, ergonomic furniture, and thoughtfully planned outdoor areas, the design elements outlined here aim to enhance their overall well-being.


Design for senior community

The design for senior community should address needs changing with their ages. Their houses should be designed to support their physical, emotional, social, and nutritional needs. Here are a few points you should consider when designing houses and common areas for senior citizens.


Accessibility of space

While designing a home for seniors, there is future possibility of a mobility device, such as a wheelchair, which should be addressed. The rooms’ size and furniture layout should be done with necessary clearance for wheelchair movement. It is recommended to follow the American Disability Act, or the National Building Code.

The bathroom should have enough space for wheelchair movement. The positioning of the sanitary ware and CP fittings should be done considering the same. The height of the fittings should be specified accordingly. Grab bars need to be planned as per their heights. Other essential elements include shower seats and hand showers.

The width of doors should be suitable for wheelchair movement, at least for primary residents. Avoiding latches and providing locks, to be accessed during emergencies, is preferable. The bathroom doors should be opened outward and provided with a door closer. The recommended clear opening width is 900mm.


Flooring and finishing

Non-slippery tiles should be used for flooring. Level difference should be avoided. Appropriate detailing needs to be done to facilitate wheelchair movement.


Lighting levels

The lighting levels should be appropriate to ensure comfort. A lux level of three hundred is recommended for senior communities for interiors and the public area. It is crucial to determine and verify the location of light fixtures and lamp specifications during the designing with a lux-level calculation. It helps ensure adequate lighting is maintained in residential and public areas. It is recommended to maximize the daylight in rooms.

In senior living communities, it is essential to keep uniformity of the lighting levels between various areas, as it would be difficult for senior citizens to adapt to sudden changes.

While selecting the light fixtures, glare needs to be minimal. Even for natural daylighting, blinds or curtains shall be planned appropriately to manage light entering the rooms.

In areas witnessing power outages, installing emergency lighting systems is important. It ensures basic illumination, even during power transitions. The design should be intended to avoid complete darkness at any point.

Planning switch controls for lights is also essential for comfortable living. Two-way switches, positions, and heights of the switch control should be planned to provide accessibility. The installation of switch controls should be reachable by people in a wheelchair.


Fixed and loose furniture

When designing a kitchen or wardrobe, it is important to consider the needs of those in wheelchairs. It includes the height of countertops, design of skirting, location of handles, and arrangement of shelves and drawers. The American Disability Act states clear guidelines regarding the design detailing and heights to be followed for ease of access.

The storage below sinks or washbasins must be detailed to help with wheelchair movement. Pull-down counters may be helpful for a wheelchair user. Use handles instead of knobs. The furniture and the corners of walls should be smooth to ensure there are no sharp edges.

The design of loose furniture should be selected considering the height for backrest, armrest, and seat. The recommended standards should be followed.


Amenities and facilities

Designing amenities for senior citizens requires defined space to meet the requirements of social/leisure activities, exercise, physical activities, social involvement, interactions, dietary, and nutritional needs.

Lounges, multipurpose halls, game rooms, TV lounges, and reading rooms should meet the requirements of leisure activities and encourage social interaction between people.

Areas designed for physical fitness should include yoga decks, jogging, gym, and walking tracks. It is recommended to have a medical center, catering to any emergencies.

A dedicated kitchen and restaurant facility within the community would help facilitate their nutrition and dietary needs. Facilities for in-room dining, central and decentralized dining facilities should be considered as part of the design based on community-specific needs.


Outdoor space

Planning areas, such as jogging and walking tracks, multipurpose gathering space for events, outdoor gyms, meditation and yoga decks, outdoor dining spaces and small community gathering areas are essential. These areas promote health and wellness, encouraging social interactions and community activities.

These areas must be free from vehicular traffic. Meeting mobility and accessibility factors is of utmost importance. Appropriate lighting levels, safety, security, and material selection are essential.



The design for senior communities goes beyond mere aesthetics, aiming to create an environment not only catering to the diverse needs of senior citizens but also enhancing their overall quality of life. By prioritizing accessibility, safety, and comfort in every facet – from the layout of houses and common areas to lighting, furniture, and outdoor spaces – we can truly foster a supportive and enriching living experience for seniors.