HEWI MAG / Knowledge

How the right interior design for seniors promotes independence and orientation

Germany is in the midst of demographic change. Society is ageing, while at the same time fewer children are being born. Twenty percent of people over 60, and sixteen percent of those over 75, are moving into flats where they can live well into old age. These should support their independence for as long as possible. In this article, we explain what’s important in age-appropriate interior design for seniors.

Today, owners are building more and more houses and flats to meet the requirements of a wide variety of target groups. To be able to respond adequately to the ageing population, you as an architect will be required to develop new concepts. And product development must also adapt to the needs of these target groups. Because the demands on living are changing, most people want to stay in their own homes and live independently for as long as possible, even in old age.

Accessible room design for seniors

Apartments or flats for seniors should be designed with accessibility in mind. Although accessibility doesn’t just benefit older people. Rather, it fulfils the goal - according to the Universal Design Principle - of enabling access and use for all people. Private space is explicitly included in this. But what does this mean for interior design for seniors? A flat is accessible when

  • it is accessible without steps and thresholds,
  • it has a floor-level, accessible shower or generally an accessible bathroom,
  • the doors have a width of at least 80 cm,
  • the movement areas in the bathroom, hallway and kitchen are at least 120 x 120 cm (for wheelchair users at least 150 x 150 cm),
  • it has good technical equipment and lighting.

A special plus are grab rails, sitting and standing aids. These provide particularly good support for people with limited mobility. Incidentally, there are attractive funding opportunities for the renovation of bathrooms. You can also find further tips on accessibility, for example, with regard to DIN specifications - in our free planning aid.

How important are colours in interior design for seniors?

Studies have shown that colours and contrasts play a major role in interior design for seniors. As vision declines, strong colours and contrasts are useful because they provide orientation. This is particularly essential for dementia-friendly interior design. DIN 32975 includes accessible visual design and recommends the use of colour contrasts. If planners or architects decide to use colour and contrasts specifically in the interior design for seniors, this can be highly effective for residents in flats.

The advantages of colours and contrasts in interior design for senior citizens

Colour accents give impulses. Many people are still mentally very fit into their old age. However, almost all of them gradually become more immobile, have less strength and no longer hear and see as well, as the lens of the eye becomes hardened and cloudy. Older people, however, still perceive colour and brightness contrasts very well. The HEWI System 900, for example, is well suited for use in accessible bathrooms.

With its large colour variation, our accessible sanitary system offers a variety of design options. All products in the sanitary series have been thought through down to the smallest detail - including their colour design. The folding support handles and folding seats are available in a chrome and stainless steel look as well as with a matt surface. Deep matt white, light grey pearl mica, dark grey pearl mica as well as black, make it possible to set strong contrasts in bathrooms suitable for senior citizens. At the same time, all of our products offer safety and comfort. In addition, there are practical accessories that perfectly complement the System 900.

HEWI dispenser systems - hygiene at the accessible washbasin

HEWI dispenser systems meet the highest demands in terms of design and functionality. Both manually operated versions and a selection of electronically controlled, hands-free dispensers are available. The wide range of materials for the dispenser systems offers a range of design options. That includes versions made of polyamide, antimicrobial polyamide, models with powder coating in black, grey tones and white, as well as stainless steel variants.

HEWI soap dispenser and disinfectant dispenser can be used in all accessible sanitary rooms. The System 800K soap dispensers are particularly suitable for accessible washbasin areas in the care sector. They are designed in a contrasting colour which mean they can be more easily recognised by people with visual impairments. The contrasting colour here refers to the push-button for dispensing soap. Its slightly roughened surface also makes the functional element tactile.

The sensory soap dispensers and disinfectant dispensers, such as the dispenser from the System 900, ensure more hygiene in the sanitary room thanks to their hands-free operability. A built-in cylinder lock makes the dispenser theft-proof and the soap or disinfectant cannot be stolen. The dispenser is permanently installed on a wall.

HEWI paper towel dispensers are also permanently installed on a wall. In combination with HEWI waste containers, they are an excellent option for hygienic hand washing in shared sanitary rooms. These innovative accessible sanitary solutions are characterised by their robustness and an integrated lock latch, which provides protection against misuse. In total, HEWI offers a consistent, functional range of dispenser products characterised by the highest design standards.

HEWI soap dispenser with cylindrical design in signal white made of polyamide and push button in anthracite


Free planning and consultation from HEWI

Would you like to make your home accessible but need support as an architect or planner? Our free planning service will personally advise you. You will find suitable contacts in our Service Centre. Please feel free to contact us!


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