Unable to avoid the laws of nature, our parents are getting older and experiencing changes in both their physical health and psychological well-being. A spacious, safe, and connected living environment with their children and grandchildren is perhaps something every elderly person desires. Therefore, in this article, let’s explore the trends in home design suitable for an enjoyable life in old age, dedicated to our parents.
- Characteristics of the psychological, health, and lifestyle changes in the elderly
The elderly are individuals aged 60 and above (according to the Law on the Elderly in Vietnam in 2010). As they enter the old age phase, our grandparents and parents will experience changes in their psychological well-being, physical health, and lifestyle habits. These changes vary from person to person. Some common changes observed in the elderly’s psychological well-being, health, and lifestyle habits include:
Feeling lonely, wanting attention, and being easily disheartened
As they reach retirement age, the elderly often feel like they have “nothing to do,” unable to meet friends and colleagues as frequently as before, while their children and grandchildren are busy with their own lives and work. As a result, the elderly may feel forgotten and abandoned. Moreover, as their health deteriorates with age, they have fewer opportunities to interact with their children and grandchildren, socialize with friends, etc., leading to an increased sense of solitude and loneliness.
Prone to depression and suspicion
The elderly have the psychological desire to impart their life experiences and expect their children and grandchildren to follow the traditions and customs of their generation. However, due to the generation gap, this can lead to conflicts within the family. Consequently, the elderly may feel hurt, experience mild depression, and become suspicious. Additionally, as they transition from being the caregivers to being the ones receiving care, their psychological well-being is easily affected, resulting in negative thoughts.
Nostalgic mindset, longing for the past
The elderly enjoy reminiscing about the past and sharing stories of memories. Especially for those who were born and raised in a different place but established their careers and current lives there, they often have a nostalgic attachment to their hometown, roots, and old houses.
Prone to accidents in daily activities
In terms of physical health, the elderly are more prone to falls and injuries due to weaker bones, impaired balance, and reduced reflexes. These falls can cause significant injuries to their bones and skin, with slower or more challenging recovery, greatly impacting their overall health.
Vulnerable to diseases, especially contagious diseases
As people age, their immune system weakens. Therefore, the elderly are more susceptible to respiratory illnesses, joint and bone-related diseases, cardiovascular conditions, and especially memory-related conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, as individuals age, their memory declines, leading to forgetfulness, lack of attention, and an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s syndrome.
- Popular types of homes – suitable design trends for elderly parents to enjoy their old age
Given the psychological and health characteristics of the elderly mentioned above, it is crucial for their children to understand and care for them. Along with regular conversations and healthcare, many adult children nowadays tend to build homes specifically for their elderly parents, with amenities tailored to their needs. The following types of homes are often chosen to provide the most comfortable living environment for aging parents in their later years.
Single-story homes (level 4 house)
Single-story homes, often simple and uncomplicated in design, are highly suitable for the elderly due to their safety features (minimizing the need for staircases between floors) and ease of design and construction, especially when parents reside in the countryside or far from their children and grandchildren. There are four popular designs for single-story homes: Thai-style single-story houses, houses with mezzanine floors, rural single-story houses, and garden single-story houses. These designs are all simple yet ensure convenience, warmth, and suitability for the lifestyle and safety of elderly parents. Moreover, incorporating traditional elements that are familiar to parents, evoking nostalgia and stories of the past, into the design of a single-story home allows the elderly to revisit memories and feel close and comfortable in their living space.
Garden homes are designed and built on large plots of land. The exterior features a lush garden with various flowers, fruit trees, and vegetables. The green surroundings not only embellish the house but also create an ideal living environment for the elderly, significantly improving their mental and physical well-being. Engaging with nature, planting trees, raising birds, or enjoying tea and admiring flowers in the garden every morning and evening are refined pleasures for the elderly, bringing them daily joy and reducing feelings of loneliness. Therefore, garden homes are a popular choice for children who want to build homes for their parents to relax and enjoy life.
For families spanning 2-3 generations living in cities with limited space advantages, high-rise buildings are a suitable choice. Well-designed and constructed high-rise buildings ensure privacy for family members while fostering interaction and connection among grandparents, parents, and grandchildren. Accordingly, the grandparents’ bedroom is typically located on the ground floor, close to communal areas such as the living room, kitchen-dining area, and open spaces like the garden, courtyard, and skylight. This design enables convenient and safe activities for parents while still allowing them to interact with their children and grandchildren, preventing feelings of loneliness and isolation.