Aging in Place
What does aging in place mean and why is it important?
The biggest population boom our country has ever seen is now 57 years of age or older and many of them want to continue to live their independent lives outside of a nursing home. And quite frankly, don’t we all want to keep our independence as long as we possibly can. That is where designing and building your home to not only accommodate your needs now, but also into the future, can have many lasting benefits.
What does an aging in place design look like?
Aging in place design doesn’t mean decorating your home in an old school Victorian fashion. It does however, require you to take into consideration certain elements that may not come into mind now.
- Replace regular doorknobs with lever style doorknobs.
- Build your hallways & door openings to 36” wide.
- Install smart elements to your home.
- Eliminate steps or levels if possible.
- Design your stairways with enough room to install a chair lift in the future if you are building your home with multiple levels. (Don’t forget about support in the walls.)
- Speaking of support in the walls, if you’re redesigning your bathroom, keep in mind future need for grab bars and shower benches. Put the support bracing behind the walls now so you don’t have to go through the entire gut process again when you're ready to install the bars (save yourself the money and do it now).
- Install higher profile toilets.
- Curbless showers
- Replace old faucets with blade handles or motion controls.
- Keep counter heights at a modest level.
- Keep most of your storage/cabinets at ground level. Open upper shelving is in now anyways.
- Install pull-out shelves on rollers.
- Plus, much more
These are just a few quick tips to think about when building/remodeling your home.
For the younger generation this can also be referred to as universal design. Think about your future. What happens if tomorrow you get in an accident, get a sports injury or break a leg/arm. Is your home ready to accommodate your temporary change in lifestyle? What if you decide to sell your home? Do you want it off limits to a good chunk of the population that may be looking to buy? Universal design/Aging in place design helps accommodate anyone at any age or in any physical condition. Best of all, your home won’t look any different from your neighbors and can even add value to your home.
Work with an Aging in Place Specialist
It is important to work with a builder that is certified in aging in place design (CAPS). They will know how to help you plan for the future while giving you the design style you are looking for. Not to mention all the codes and technical stuff that joe schmo would never think of. You can go to your local HBA and ask for builders who are CAPS certified. We are fortunate to have a certified aging in place specialist in house. Aaron Vander Meulen is CAPS certified and enjoys incorporating these simple elements into his home designs. If you're considering living in your home for the entirety of your life give us a call to discuss this universal/aging in place design. (616) 396-3448