Apartment communities are mini countries with a vast demography of age. Quite a bulk of the residents in housing societies are senior citizens. In the twilight of their lives, senior citizens deserve a comfortable life. The community as a whole has the onus on them to ensure senior citizen friendly housing societies become a norm, rather than an exception. Going the couple extra steps to build a senior citizen friendly society may seem like a task. However, there are some simple methods to help communities shape themselves into a haven for the elderly. In this blog we shall discuss a few uncomplicated strategies to build a safer and more accessible community for geriatrics.
The first and foremost requirement to ensure a senior citizen friendly society is to implement a robust security system. A couple guards manning the gates with manual registers are not enough. Manual systems have a higher risk of falling prey to fatal flaws. With senior citizens, women and children forming the major bulk of housing societies, security should be that aspect of apartment management where compromises do not have a place. Switching to a well balanced amalgamated system of manual and digital processes cut down the risks of infiltration by several notches. There are many software in the market to help management committee members to make the transition.
A gated community sees a tremendous inflow of visitors every single day. These visitors are mostly staff, delivery personnel, vendors. Irrespective of their verification status, their entry, exit and stay duration needs strict monitoring. Manual systems often miss out on this detailed monitoring. Software help to reduce this mismatch. With options of pre-authorising visitors and visitor verification, the elderly residents hold the power in their hands to decide whom to welcome in their safe space. Parcel Management, registration of domestic staff further help the management committee as well as the security guards to remain informed about regular individuals visiting units of senior citizens.
Geriatric individuals often suffer from health problems restricting their mobility, Having ramps along with staircases in places of elevation, helps to give them greater access within the premises of their own residential community. Installation of handrails wherever possible, helps to give the much needed extra support they need while walking around their housing society. Senior citizen friendly housing societies can also consider to ensure bathroom floors are made of anti skid materials to avoid accidents. Bathrooms fitted with support handles are a bonus. The best part? These handles can be utilised for other purposes even if the unit owner is not a senior citizen. Low to medium height wash basins with enough slab space is another way to make bathrooms more secure for our parents and grandparents.
Considering the nomadic lifestyle most young professionals have these days, oftentimes, senior citizens live alone. Keeping such a factor in mind, installation of more accessible cabinets and wardrobes help them in their day to day lives. Making cabinets with ample space in mid and low levels ensure senior citizens do not have to stretch and reach out to the higher levels of the cabinets. The same applies for kitchen cabinets.
Easy Access For Maintenance Requirements
It is not possible for senior citizens to repeatedly travel to and fro to the Association or Maintenance office whenever something goes wrong in their units. Therefore, it is of vital importance to nurture a culture of prompt responses to maintenance and repair issues. Again, software help in this segment too. Raising help desk tickets and tracking their progress through an app cuts out the need to make repeated calls or visits to the required offices. The management committee should be responsible to keep a clear database of all the units where senior citizens reside, especially the ones living alone. They should instruct maintenance staff to regularly visit such units, perhaps once a week, to check on basic requirements like plumbing and electricity. Such a practice will also help to catch problems, if any, at the initial stages making repair and maintenance work that much easier and cost effective.
Elevators are extremely important for the uninhibited movement of senior citizens throughout their complex. Make sure elevator AMCs are done on time and they are maintained regularly to avoid sudden breakdowns. In case of a mechanical failure, community managers must make it a point to get it fixed as soon as possible. Senior citizen friendly housing societies should also keep in mind to install elevators that are spacious enough to allow comfortable positioning of wheelchairs for the ones who depend on it for mobility.
Senior citizens in apartment communities are inevitably superannuated individuals. Lack of activity has often been linked to mental health issues, like acute depression, in senior citizens. Senior citizen friendly housing societies are responsible for the overall well being of their geriatric residents. It helps if young residents, irrespective of their position in management committees, should design plans for regular activities to keep senior citizens involved and ward off loneliness. Mild exercise activities during mornings or evenings, reading rooms or libraries in common areas, bonding sessions with children in the community are some activity ideas that can be implemented to ease the lives of the elderly.
Going The Extra Mile
If you are one of those housing societies who love going the extra mile for the elderly, these ideas are for you.
- Make an accessible database of lawyers, financial advisors that can help senior citizen residents to easily coordinate their financial liabilities.
- Senior citizen friendly housing societies can even tie up with local clinics, medical stores and diagnostic centres to visit the community regularly for check ups as and when needed.
- With digitisation in every field, regular customised sessions on handling online activities like internet banking, app usage can be of massive help to senior citizens in their daily lives.
- Installation of grocery kiosks in association with online vendors can help senior citizens to get their basic necessities within the community, without stressing themselves too much.
- Investing in electric cars to be used within the community premises for helping senior citizens for visiting other units or offices can also be explored.
The older generation has helped us to set our foundation. They have been with us through every high and lows. With apartment living becoming the norm, it is of utmost importance to focus on the section of the population who deserve all our assistance in their sunset years.
Also, read about Home Safety Tips for Senior Citizens.