Whether you are moving into a new home or are making modifications to your current home, choosing the best features can seem overwhelming. When the goal is to choose design features that will help you to “age in place” with comfort, ease, and mobility, the task can seem even more challenging. For many Baby Boomers, the desire to create a home that will meet their needs far into the future is an essential one.
When designing a new home that will age with you, it is best to consider open living floor plans with main living areas all situated on one floor. With your kitchen, family room, bedrooms, bathrooms, laundry, and garage access all within easy access on the same floor, it eliminates the need for you to worry about climbing stairs. However, many people do not wish to build a new home and are looking for ways to modify their existing space. The simple addition of a stairlift can easily overcome the need to climb stairs in any home.
Increasing the natural light in your home can be a significant help to making your home more comfortable as you age. Adding skylights and larger windows helps increase natural light and does not require the homeowner to always turn on lights. If you are replacing windows, consider casement windows over double hung windows as they provide superior ventilation and are easier to open and close.
Other features within your home that make it easier to age in place include:
- The addition of wider doors, 36” wide doors are preferred.
- Opt for lever style handles on all doors.
- Roll out shelves in cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms allow for easier access to items stored there.
- The addition of D-shaped or loop cabinet pulls.
- Tubs with doors for easy access.
- Grab bars at the toilet and in the shower or tub for stability.
- Lever style faucets in the kitchen and bathrooms.
- Toilet paper dispensers that can be changed with only one hand.
- Counter tops with rounded corners.
- Thresholds or floor level differences of no more than ½” for easy clearance by wheelchairs or power scooters.
In order to reduce maintenance on the exterior of your home, consider upgrading the exterior to low maintenance coverings such as brick, stone, stucco or vinyl siding. All of these allow you to minimize the expense and upkeep of your home.
There are many more ways to improve the functionality of your home making it easier to age in place. Many communities have contractors who specialize in building or retrofitting homes for aging in place. Find a reputable builder who will work with you to accommodate your needs and help you to bring the changes you envision to reality.