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Designing an Elderly-Friendly Home

In line with the Singapore government’s bid to create a more inclusive society for the elderly and disabled, HDB (Housing & Development Board) came up with the EASE scheme (Enhancement for Active Seniors). It aims to improve the safety and comfort of seniors living in HDB flats so they can enjoy doing the things they have always been doing despite the physical difficulties brought on by age.

Since the government has set aside $260 million to subsidise the scheme, Singapore citizens need only pay a small portion of the cost. In fact, they can choose from 3 or all of the following improvements provided by HDB:

  • slip-resistant treatments to bathroom or toilet floor tiles
  • grab bars within the flat where technically possible
  • ramp(s) to negotiate the differences in floor level within the flat as well as at the main entrance where technically possible

EASE is part of HIP’s (Home Improvement Programme) optional improvements, but residents need not wait for the project to come to their residential area or even for their respective blocks to qualify for HIP. They can apply directly here. This scheme is especially useful for people who are living with their elderly parents, in-laws or grandparents. Designing an elderly-friendly home for the older folks is a definite plus since this will help the older generation live a more fruitful life without having to overburden their caregivers.

Aside from the improvements offered by EASE, here are a few simple tips to build a safer environment for the vulnerable seniors at home:

  • ensure sufficient lighting since older people need more illumination to work with
  • direct glare should be kept to the minimum by installing window screens or films
  • cut down on reflective glare by minimising on reflective surfaces for your flooring and walls e.g. marble, mirrors
  • store items at a height that eliminates the need to stretch or bend over to reach for things
  • use items with a large display and big fonts on a contrasting background e.g. telephones with oversized dial buttons

Want to know more about tips on how to create an elderly-friendly home? Then do stay tuned for our upcoming RenoNation magazine issue 4!

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