Designing apartments for seniors is not the same as designing apartments for the general public. With age, most of the residents will start facing issues with mobility, which is why you may have to make your apartments senior-friendly and also secure. There are many aspects you may want to consider.
Resident movement and mobility
You will have to pay special consideration to the use of space by seniors before designing apartments for them. If you go have a look at some of the senior living options like memory care facilities or skilled nursing units, you will find that these residents are generally not moved frequently between floors. In assisted living communities where mobility is possible but low, there are options to use walkers and wheelchairs. The distances have to be shorter and the travel has to be minimal. If the travel distances cannot be shortened you will have to consider including some resting points.
When it comes to designing senior apartments, access control is another thing you will have to consider. Because of their low mobility they will find it difficult to secure themselves from unwanted visitors. So as far as possible you should not allow free access to visitors. There should be separate access or elevators for staff and residents. You will have to think of a single point of access to the building especially for staff and visitors.
Kitchens and common areas
Senior apartments need to have kitchens and dining rooms that can be accessed by residents. Having kitchen and dining room on the first floor is a practice that most senior living facilities follow. This might be easier to maintain infrastructure. However, for the senior residents on higher floors you may want to think of accommodating small kitchenettes on those floors to shorten the travel distance. You may even capture an outdoor space on the terrace if it is accessible through elevators.
You can’t do without outdoor amenities while designing senior apartments. Although their mobility is low, seniors will need to take walks in fresh air with some greenery around. You will also have to put up a few resting points to make it easier for them.
Most senior apartments that are built in densely populated urban areas provide limited or no outdoor space for residents. In such cases vertical construction may be an attractive option. You can also think of a shared outdoor space outside the rooms of the residents that will foster socialization.
You can find senior living apartments that have wandering gardens on first floors where there are more opportunities for natural vegetation. While ground floor is always a better option, there are developers who think of creating outdoor common areas on the rooftop too.
Security is another thing you will have to consider while providing outdoor amenities for senior residents. You can think of multiple outdoor spaces on multiple floors to provide some variety and make it easier for those who have low mobility issues.
Understanding the problems that senior residents face in apartments that are not senior-friendly, will help you determine the challenges that you will have to overcome, while designing senior apartments for low mobility. Be ready to think out of the box to craft spaces that cater to aging residents.