Of all the rooms in a home, the bathroom is the most vital room for ensuring we can continue to live at home as we grow older. It is central to our own personal health and hygiene, and plays an important role in care provision.
The political goal of prioritising outpatient care over inpatient nursing can only succeed if private households are made better able to cope with changing personal health needs. A key factor in this context is the upgrading of bathrooms and sanitary facilities to places that we can safely use when we grow older, and in which, when we need assistance, family members and professional carers can come in and help us.
The age-friendly design of living environments naturally also concerns other rooms in the home such as the living room, bedroom, kitchen and entrance, as well as corridors, stairs, ramps, balconies and terraces. Preventative measures can help make living at home more comfortable for all age groups. Design that addresses the needs of all generations removes barriers and makes homes more pleasant and usable environments for people with different abilities – whether frail and infirm, disabled, children, or outside carers. It helps minimise accidents and falls in the home, improves home security and not least raises the value of property.
The age-friendly conversion of home environments enables people to live independently in their familiar surroundings for longer, making a lasting contribution to quality of life in old age.
But age-friendly design is more than just about added safety, better orientation, health and hygiene. Wellness and good design also make living environments more pleasurable, and help us be more autonomous. Well-designed age-friendly living environments are just as much about comfort, well-being and aesthetics. Age-friendly living environments have the potential to meet the needs of society at all levels.
Age-friendly living must be considered in the design of:
- Entrance doors
- Stairs, ramps and lifts
- Living areas and bedrooms
Age-friendly living encompasses the following aspects:
- Preventive measures
- Usability for all age groups
- Multi-generational living constellations
- Improved comfort and standard of living
- Reduction in falls and accidents in the home
- Ability to live longer in familiar surroundings
- Continued personal autonomy and individual living surroundings at home
- Better quality of life into old age
- Easier access and better facilities for carers
- Better access for disabled or mobility-impaired persons as well
- as for families with children
- Burglary protection
- Improvement of property value
Age-friendly living is about:
- Personal autonomy
- Energy efficiency
- Quality of life