Aging in Place
Aging brings about a multitude of challenges, no matter how fit our bodies or how trained our mind. Aging is inevitable. We can take non-noticeable measures now that would allow you to live in your home as long as possible as needs and limitations change. Some of those preparations include:
Adjust the overall home layout with Aging in Place in mind.
1st Floor Living with Open Floor Plan
Master Bedroom and open living area on the first floor makes it easier for the elderly to navigate with fewer obstructions and corners to turn to get from one space to another.
The suggested minimum is 36 inches to ensure a wheelchair or walker can easily utilize the doorway. Barn or packet doors are useful design elements to help negotiate doorways as well.
Reduced Exterior Steps
Selecting land and a floor plan that allows a minimal change in elevation are key to eliminating steps for entry into the home for at least one
entryway. If steps are inevitable, ramps can later be installed both inside and outside the home to safely maneuver changes in elevations.
Wainscoting, chair rails, or small shelves that protrude from the wall can aid balance, as long as they are thick enough to grip and securely attached to the wall.
Future Elevator Rough-in
We can plan for a future elevator now by creating the space with the necessary structural and electrical requirements. It can be used as a closet or other storage until the elevator is necessary.
Cabinetry can be designed now with rollout shelving, which is useful now, but especially as we age.
Our eyesight declines as we age. Add more lighting in tricky, often dark places such as stairways and hallways, as well as bathrooms and kitchens, where task-specific lighting will be most useful. Using rocker style switches is also helpful.
The idea of complete home automation is integrating different home appliances, alarms, HVAC units, and lighting into a single system so they can be easily controlled and monitored by the homeowner.
Aging in Place Bathroom design
An essential element in a bathroom designed for aging in place. Many manufacturers do offer grab bars specifically designed to replicate the appearance of a tower bar. Grab bars are especially useful around the toilet and in and out of the shower or bathtub to help with balance.
Zero Clearance Shower and adjustable shower head
The ability to roll into the shower and use an adjustable-height showerhead with a handheld wand can extend your
ability to bathe independently, which will have a demonstrable impact on preserving emotional wellbeing and sense of dignity in later years. Incorporating a seat into the design will be useful now and later.
Levers used for door handles and plumbing fixture handles are easier to manipulate than knobs.
There are many more things that can be customized to this “universal design” to benefit
us as we age in place. Let us help you design your truly forever home.