Most people don’t realize just how big of an impact architecture can have on the lives and well being of elderly individuals. For many years, innovative designs for care homes and retirement living have gone a long way in helping to both support and reassure elderly residents so they feel comfortable in their surroundings, and will do for many years to come. Here are three key ways in which architecture benefits the elderly.
Exposure to sunlight
One of the first architectural considerations for any residential project is ‘how does the building sit in relation to the sun?’ This can influence many factors such as the garden, conservatories and large windows, all because we want residents to have the best exposure to natural light as possible. Designs for many care homes ensure that there are no rooms that face exclusively north, so all residents receive direct, natural sunlight into their room at some point during the day. Not only are there psychological benefits of enjoying the sunshine, but exposure to the sun in moderation provides a healthy dose of Vitamin D, absorbed into the body to help strengthen bones which is a huge boost for the elderly to starve off the effects of frailty with age.
Residential architecture is not just about the building, but landscaping the garden area too. Retaining some green outdoor space is important for elderly residents for whom it may not be possible to venture to the nearest public park whenever they wish, so they can relax outdoors without completely leaving their home. For more mobile elderly residents, gardens also provide the opportunity to continue with a relaxing gardening hobby, or to even take it up. In care homes, gardens are kept in pristine condition all year round by qualified gardeners, and when the months begin to get warmer, residents can enjoy the various plants and colorful flowerbeds – some of which they may have helped to plant themselves.
Built to adapt
When it comes to care home facilities and retirement housing, architectural designs must cater for the ever-changing needs of the residents. Therefore, it has to be built to adapt. Many elderly who use wheelchairs will require spacious rooms with height adjustable surfaces, particularly in the kitchen, and ramps fitted on all entrances and exits. These features take even more prominence in care homes with more residents present, with designs also incorporating wide corridors to allow residents in wheelchairs or on mobility scooters to pass one another with ease, and interior walls within a resident’s living space fitted as panels that can be easily knocked out to create a larger open plan floor space if necessary.
Author bio: Mick Goode is a co-founder and co-director of Croft Goode Architects, based in Lancashire, UK. As a BIM-focused practice of chartered architects, we have a vast range of experience designing for all kinds of projects, including those for retirement living and healthcare buildings for the elderly and disabled.
If you or someone you care for has Parkinson’s disease, you may encounter a wide array of symptoms on a day to day basis from tremors to muscle rigidity to slowed movements, balance problems, and speech changes. Non-physical symptoms can accompany the disease as well including trouble sleeping, mood changes, urinary urgency, constipation, even loss of smell.
When it comes to managing this type of chronic autoimmune condition, in addition to a comprehensive treatment planned laid out by your doctor, assistive equipment can go a long way in simplifying daily life:
Advancements in science and technology have made their way into the kitchen market providing relief to people who may otherwise have difficulty feeding themselves. Adaptive utensils are specially designed to help counteract tremors someone with Parkinson’s may have in their hand when holding a fork or spoon, for example.
Other helpful dining aids may include weighted cups and bowls (that are less likely to tip over), and plate guards or high-rimmed plates that prevent food from falling out.
People with Parkinson’s are at increased risk of falling so supportive equipment around the bed can definitely make this fall-prone environment safer. Install bed rails to aid seniors with limited mobility or try a super pole that stands fixed beside the bed or a pull strap that connects to the end of the bed and makes it easier to sit up.
Bedside commodes can also simplify the task of night time toileting, especially for Parkinson’s sufferers with incontinence issues.
As dexterity and finger nimbleness falls prey to the contracture of muscles and joints in the hands, getting dressed on your own can become difficult. This key marker of independence may be retained in some respects with dressing aids that allows a person with Parkinson’s to dress themselves. Tools like button hooks, zipper pulls, one-handed belts, dressing sticks, and shoe horns can all go a long way to promoting self-reliance even as the disease progresses.
Maintaining personal hygiene has the ability to improve your sense of confidence and your mood, no matter what Parkinson’s brings your way. Equipment that makes bathing safer and reduces the risk of falling includes shower transfer chairs, grab bars (inside and outside the shower), and non-slip bath mats. Additional bathroom tools may include weighted holders for toothbrushes, razors, etc. as well as removable shower heads and long-handled bath sponges and scrubbers.
“With the IoT, we’re headed to a world where things aren’t liable to break catastrophically – or at least we’ll have a hell of a heads’ up. We’re headed to a world where our doors unlock when they sense us nearby.”
~ Scott Weiss
This quote from famous venture capitalist Scott Weiss highlights how much the Internet of Things (IoT) is changing our lives. It’s not just about connected devices and smart refrigerators. It’s about making smart home technology a norm. And it can be a norm that makes independent living for seniors much better in the long run. Here are a few ways smart home technology can directly benefit seniors living at home.
#1: Smart Home Technology Makes Independent Living Safer
Caring for seniors living at home can be both rewarding and challenging. With independent living, safety is always a concern. What happens when a senior loved one needs to be left alone, for example?
By introducing smart home technology into the mix, you can help ensure that your loved one is safe while home alone. The IoT means that seniors living at home can easily access everything they need – from the medicine cabinet to the front door to a voice command for emergency services.
#2: Alerts & Real Time Monitoring Make Independent Living More Realistic
More immediately, smart home technology and IoT makes independent living both safer and more realistic. Tech innovations now allow the control, monitoring and reception of alerts from physical devices in the home. With the touch of a button on an app, you can control appliances, security systems and more.
Users can also receive alerts on heart rate, blood pressure and a host of other health factors. You can have a safe amount of control over the home while letting your senior loved one live their independent life.. With this level of innovation, there is less of a necessity of back and forth.
#3: IoT Makes Independent Living More Accessible
In the past, there were generally two options: moving seniors into assisted living homes or having them move in directly. Smart home technology empowered by IoT and a fine tuned UX means seniors can access the tools they need to remain independent. There is no need for fancy tech that is difficult to understand.
What other ways do you see the promise of smart home technology taking hold for seniors living at home?
Brooklin Nash writes about the latest tools and small business trends. When he’s not writing, you can find him reading YA dystopian fiction (with guilty pleasure) and cooking.
Putting on a bit of weight – a pound or two – each year as you grow older is fairly normal, but weight gain is not always inevitable. Many people simply assume that everyone gains a little weight as they get older. They tend to accept it as a part of growing old. You don’t have to do that.
We do put on weight as we age because we become more sedentary, move around less frequently, and eat more calories even when our metabolism has begun to slow down. But, there are ways to deal with weight gain.
Here in this post, we will discuss the top five ways to deal with weight gain as you grow older. Read on.
1. More Physical Activity
To prevent weight gain, it is important to add regular movement to your day. This is the MOST important advice that you shouldn’t ignore at any cost.
You can go on morning/evening walks more often, take the stairs at work, or hit the gym a few times each week.
You need to move around.
The chief reason why we lose muscle mass as we grow old, which in turn lowers metabolism, is that we spend too much time without any physical movement. After the age of 40, we lose around 8% of lean muscle mass with each passing decade.
When you are physically active, it will be much easier to preserve muscle mass and maintain a healthy metabolic rate. Activities such as regular exercise, lifting weights, etc. will also increase bone density. You can also try doing yoga at home or at a local fitness training center.
Remember, every little bit counts when you are dealing with weight gain.
If you are on medication, have an existing health condition or are recovering from an injury, be sure to speak with your doctor before you start with a new exercise routine.
2. Get More Protein
Taking more protein at each meal/snack not only helps in building and repairing muscle mass, but it also helps control the appetite.
The best way to use protein-rich foods to reverse the weight-gain cycle is to choose the leanest sources. You need to eat foods that are high in protein but low in fats.
Some of the leanest sources include non-fat dairy products, seafood, egg white, poultry breast, lean pieces of red meat, beans, tofu, lentils, etc.
Your high-protein breakfast for weight management can include skim-milk with some lean sources such as low-fat yogurt and an egg.
Your high-protein lunch/dinner for weight management can include 2-3 ounces of lean meat. You can have some skim milk during lunch and dinner as well.
3. Watch What You Eat
Bid adieu to foods (e.g. junk food) and drinks (e.g. soda) that provide little or no nutrient value.
Limit your carbohydrate intake as much as possible.
You can limit both the size and the type of carbohydrate you are consuming on a daily basis.
Carbs from whole gain, for instance, can be helpful in dealing with weight gain.
Each time you are hungry, try to eat something that’s low on calories and makes you feel fuller.
Many vegetables and whole fruits, for instance, provide a wide range of nutrients (along with fiber and water) for a comparatively small number of calories.
4. Be Realistic
As you grow older, you will need more time to lose weight. Someone 10 years younger than you can deal with weight gain more easily.
So, you must focus on the process instead of getting worried about weight gain. You need to eat right and keep yourself physically active. Your body will respond to these two major lifestyle changes in its own time.
5. Maintain a Diary
Do not let yourself believe that you cannot stop gaining weight simply because you are getting older.
You can keep a daily journal to keep yourself motivated. You can write things like – how much weight you lost or gained in a week, how much time you spent exercising/strength-training, and how much water/healthy-drinks you consumed each week.
You can monitor the progress you are making each week.
This way, it is easier to stay the course.
Sarah Remmington is one of the founders of Garcinia Cambogia 100 Pure supplements based out of Southern California with several other locations throughout the US. Sarah’s company has become a global brand and now a household name with the success of her most popular dietary supplement which has been featured on many different media channels.