Retirement Developments



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Retirement Developments are big business with more and more being built as we all live longer and want to remain safely independent. Downsizing from a larger property to a smaller one with a house manager on hand to sort out problems is for many a favourable option.

I visit a couple of such properties and although on the whole the design features are excellent, some improvements are still required.

I was curious to know how fail older men and women were meant to be able to reach the washing machine dispenser draws when they were raised on a plinth. I am 5ft 4″ and had to stand on my toes to do so. It appears the ┬áresidents have overcome this issue with a stool!

a row of washing machines raised on a plinth in a communal laundry and a red plastic stool.

The thought of someone elderly balancing on this stool when they are trying to perform a two-handed operation shocked me. Are the designers and builders failing to maintain a “Duty of Care” to their residents. It would take little to slip and fall onto the tiled floor and break a hip.

I do appreciate the machines are raised to facilitate the plumbing, however this is not sensible or practical really.

Another observation, in a different property is that  the layout is similar to that of a maze. All the corridors and wheelchair ramps are decorated in the same wallpaper and design. I have been visiting there for two years now and still get lost. If I do this then how is an elderly person with early stage dementia going to manage as the condition worsens.

In South Africa one care home painted the doors different colour as it was found that people could remember colours better than numbers.

I shall be raising both points with the companies concerned.


Award-winning blogger and care columnist for Devon Life magazine, Caron also campaigns for recognition of the needs elderly people and their carers. Designer and creator of the award-winning Dementia Assistance Cards which are free to all, and helping thousands of people globally Caron is passionate and committed to making a difference

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