Maximizing solace, peace and happiness for senior citizens

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For creating an ideal environment (both indoor and outdoor) for senior citizens, communities must prioritize ageing positively and create spaces that cater to their minutest needs. This article dwells into other important aspects to be considered while designing spaces conducive for elderly care.



The design of spaces within the homes, as well as the common areas must adhere to the international accessibility guidelines to ensure seniors’ physical well-being and comfort. It is essential to pay attention to finer details — choice of colour for the walls and ceiling, anti-skid flooring materials, emergency lighting work, the placement of switches and receptacles, strategic installation of grab bars and leaning rails, and appropriate furniture dimensions — while designing the interiors.

The inclusion of a medical centre, an elevator capable of accommodating a stretcher, and corridors leading to the medical centre designed for stretcher movement is also a necessity. Spaces that would address the needs to improve or maintain physical fitness, such as senior-friendly gymnasiums, massage rooms and yoga decks, must be evaluated while finalizing the spatial program.



Nutritional needs are also of prime importance, therefore providing a kitchen and a dining facility with a specialized menu is essential. Seamless planning of in-room dining facilities is crucial, including mapping out food trolley routes and accounting for a service elevator.



Designing spaces that encourage social interactions and provide opportunities for activities can significantly improve the emotional, mental, and social well-being of seniors. Operators can use these spaces to promote engagement at a personal and community level. While spaces such as multipurpose halls facilitate such activities at a community level, even a well-designed lounge, TV viewing area, reading corners, or a seating area near an elevator lobby largely facilitate social interactions daily.



Evaluating every design element in interior spaces for safety and security is important. This aspect of design starts with identifying entry and exit points to the building and extend further with integrating fire, safety, and security systems into the interior design of the spaces. The risk of falls needs to be evaluated for every area, and necessary provisions such as non-slippery flooring and support like railings must be integrated into the design. Care must be taken to incorporate emergency power supply into the design.

Emergency access to the homes should always be available to authorized personnel to address needs in time of an emergency. The design of the locking arrangement for the homes and common areas has to be suitably planned to meet this requirement. The use of CCTV cameras at appropriate outdoor locations is also the need of the hour.



The extent of usage and the kind of spaces to be planned largely depend on the climatic conditions of the location. In areas with favourable weather conditions, planning spaces such as jogging and walking tracks, multipurpose gathering areas for events, outdoor gyms, meditation and yoga decks, outdoor dining spaces, and smaller community gathering areas are beneficial. These areas contribute to health and wellness, encourage social interactions, and facilitate community activities, which significantly contribute to positive ageing. Gazebos and seating areas also add a lot of value for smaller gatherings. Provision for outdoor movie screening could also be considered. Pet parks are also preferred as a feature in pet-friendly communities and could be considered a part of the overall design of outdoor spaces. The positioning of the same needs to be carefully planned.

The material used for flooring in all the outdoor areas should be non-slippery and suitable for outdoor application. Stone, if used, needs to be in a flamed finish. Flooring used for the outdoor gym and jogging track should include rubberized flooring to minimize injuries in case of a fall.