Senior Caregiver Podcast Returns to Share Senior-Friendly Design Advice

Sunrise Senior Living  |  December 11, 2019
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The Senior Caregiver podcast is back with two new episodes. Episode 7: “Senior Friendly Design Part 1—Retrofitting Your Home for Old Age” and Episode 8: “Senior Friendly Design Part II—Customizing Your Senior Living Residence.” A Sunrise Senior Living design expert discusses ideas for designing living spaces that support the challenges of aging with host, Bill Worthington.

Background on The Senior Caregiver Podcast

The Senior Caregiver podcast offers education, tips and resources to older adults and those who are caring for aging loved ones. The podcast covers a variety of topics related to healthy senior living, and provides a safe space for caregivers to share the joys—and challenges—of caregiving.

Past podcasts have covered topics ranging from nutrition to Alzheimer’s care and tips for finding a senior living community.

The Senior Caregiver Podcast Episode 7: “Senior-Friendly Design Part 1—Retrofitting Your Home for Old Age”

In this episode, Sunrise’s vice president of design Andrea Owensby shares her insight and experience, encouraging listeners to evaluate their homes differently as they grow older. Owensby notes that a house purchased for a young family’s needs doesn’t always meet the needs of aging adults. The sooner we start making home modifications, the better off we will be when it’s time to retire.

While size, location, and aesthetics may have been the deciding factors in purchasing a home earlier in life, priorities shift to safety, accessibility, and convenience as people age. Owensby recommends older adults and their families take an objective look at each room of the home to identify issues that need to be addressed:

  • While not as sleek in appearance, installing D-shaped pulls on cupboards allows an older adult with arthritis to more easily open cabinet doors.
  • Having ample storage space within easy reach lowers a senior’s risk for falls. An older adult can place frequently-used or heavy items in spaces that don’t require kneeling down or climbing up on a stool to access.
  • Lever style door and faucet handles are another senior-friendly home modification. It’s a simple change that accommodates adults whose arthritis limits range of motion. A lever is much easier to operate than twisting and turning a knob.

From lighting to toilet seats and counter heights, you can learn much more about home modifications to help you age in place by listening to the full podcast here.

Episode 8: “Senior Friendly Design Part II—Customizing Your Senior Living Residence”

In the newest Senior Caregiver podcast, vice president of design Andrea Owensby returns to the studio to talk about transitioning to a senior living community. The process can sometimes be so daunting that families delay moving because they aren’t sure how to get started.

According to Owensby, when an older adult has lived in their home many years, they usually accumulate a lot of belongings and have made a lot of memories in the process. The misperception that they need to give up all of their cherished possessions and leave fond memories behind, can make the decision to move an emotional one.

Owensby shares a few tips for making the transition go more smoothly:

  • Try to think ahead to the many opportunities for socializing and building memories in the new home.
  • Choose to move pieces of furniture and other belongings that hold sentimental value, but are also safe and functional.
  • Obtain a floor plan with dimensions of each room so you can preplan which items will fit into the new home, and which items will need to be repurposed.
  • Focus on creating a unique and personal space – one that looks and feels familiar. Family photos and other memorabilia could be placed in a shadow box that makes a good conversation piece for visitors.
  • If the person is moving to memory care, work with care team at the community, who can help you decide what items to bring. Patterns, colors, and lighting can all make a difference when someone is living with dementia.

Owensby also discusses the role technology plays in senior living communities, and how to look for a community that offers good design elements. Lean rails to rest in long corridors, common areas for gathering, and access to gardens and outdoor spaces can improve safety and quality of life. Listen to the full podcast and learn more here.

Senior Care Resources

Sunrise is committed to bringing older adults and their families the resources needed to live well at every age. Visit our Resources page for information on caregiving, nutrition, financing, and more.


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