There is more than enough to think of when planning out your next home, and with so much on your plate, the future can often be overlooked. Yet, the decisions you make now are important and will affect you while growing older. Thinking about adding bars and ramps in your dream home might not sound too enticing, but there are strategic ways to implement features that will allow you to age in place that are both beautiful and subtle.
Every year Associated Designs conducts the Home from the Heart survey and this past year asked participants about aging in place and design elements they would implement in their home. The results reflect what features are essential when consider a home to age in place.
For your dream home to serve you in years to come, it is important to consider the rooms that you use on a daily basis. A single level home is an easy solution, however, if your idea of a dream home is a two story design creating a home to age in is still possible. By making sure that main living areas as well as a master suite are located on the main level, or design an interior closet that could be converted to an elevator should the future need ever arise.
Something that might not seem as important now but will be later is the width of doors and hallways. The Tetherow home plan, from Associated Designs, uses this aging in place concept for when a day may come someone needs to navigate through the home with a wheelchair or walker, the wider passageways will make things much smoother. Plus the side benefit of larger doorways and wider hallways creates a spacious and open atmosphere. Also, adding width to the garage will provide additional space for car doors to open, making the transition in and out of the car during inclement weather easier.
A key aging in pace feature that received a lot of support from survey participants is flush transitions between interior and exterior spaces (as well as the transition from the garage to the interior living area). Yes, ramps can be considered to be built in at the start or planned out for easy installment later, but creating a natural flow of living has been quite popular for aging in place and can be very well done. Planning out your forever home with zero-steps may be the direction you want to go, even if it’s just for the beautiful design aspect of this look.
Large curb-less walk-in showers are a popular and attractive choice even if you haven’t considered aging in place measures. Planning for a curb-less walk-in shower now will be easier than a bathroom remodel later. Additional aging in place features when considering bathroom design are chair height toilets and easy tub access. While bringing in grab bars might not be essential at the moment, planning out where they will be in the future will make a smoother transition if they ever need to be installed.
Making sure every room and function is easy to reach really helps with aging in place. For example, having easy touch light switches and placing outlets higher throughout your home are painless adjustments that have great benefits later. Making sure areas in the home are well lit is also key to improving aging in place features. One way of increasing the amount of light in a room is by lowering window heights and installing larger windows. Adding pull-out cabinets is also something that many don’t really think about now, but makes it much easier for people to reach things as they age.
Aging in place is truly on the cutting edge and you will thank yourself later for considering this now. Implementing these details into your forever home from the beginning, or even remodeling now, won’t be a compromise your ideal attractive living space like some may think. Sitting down with a home designer to discuss including these important aspects into your home will help you see how just a little bit of planning can result in a beautiful and functional design. Having a universal approach will make anyone who comes through feel right at home.