As people age, they begin to look at ways to make their homes safer and more convenient. Known as aging in place, many builders and designers are helping older homeowners make elegant changes to their homes which will enable them to stay at home in their senior years. The builders here at Sundance Homes, LLC, are very familiar with building requirements for aging in place.
Features of Aging in Place Home Redesign
There are many common changes that designers are required to help with to make houses more accessible for seniors. Since many people have mobility issues in their later years, builders and custom home designers have to look at widening doorways to accommodate mobility devices.
Mobility problems will also mean that more space is needed inside for wheelchairs and scooters to move around in kitchens and living areas. Converting downstairs quarters such as the living room into bedrooms is common as climbing stairs is sometimes an inconvenience for older people. Some of the first rooms to tackle when remodeling homes for older people are the bathroom, the kitchen, and the bedroom. Let’s take a look at those particular rooms for a moment.
The bathroom: A lot of thought will need to go into remodeling the bathroom as you need to consider future installations. Whether or not you put in grab bars right away, you should ensure that the walls in bathrooms are strong enough to have these put in when you are ready. Larger, comfort height toilets are very good additions for later years as well. Make sure your bathroom is big enough to handle this change when the time comes.
The kitchen: To remain independent, many seniors who live alone want to prepare their own meals. Making countertops lower so that people in wheelchairs can reach them easily must be considered. Some homeowners choose to create countertops at differing heights for ease of preparing food regardless of age. This method works wonderfully with children as well as people who are reliant on a wheelchair. Locks and pulls on cabinets and drawers need to be large and easy to grip. Cabinets need to be designed with a wheelchair-bound senior in mind.
The bedroom: The doors must be wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair or mobility chair. Flooring is also important as many older seniors will need to use walking sticks and canes so the flooring should provide enough traction to prevent slip and fall accidents.
Whether it happens now or later, your remodeling plan should include low-level storage options. As much as possible, use lever handles on drawers and cupboard doors as they are easy to open even for people with arthritis. These are available in attractive designs so your home will still be elegant.
One good reason to embrace the aging in place concept is that it makes homes so much safer for seniors. Many of the injuries to senior citizens in their own homes result from falls. Putting in grab bars, rails, and renovating homes to make them safer is very important as the baby boomer generation gets older.