As we age, our needs change. This can often mean that the home we’ve lived in for years is no longer suitable. If you’re looking to stay in your home as you age, it’s important to plan ahead and make sure your home can accommodate your needs. In this blog post, we will discuss some tips for planning your home for a successful age-in-place transition and home modifications for aging in place!
Aging in place is important because it allows people to remain at home for as long as possible, rather than having to move into a care facility. This can provide a lot of benefits for both the individual and their family.
- Install grab bars near sinks and toilets so that you can use them when showering or getting dressed, especially if you have balance issues or arthritis in your hands and fingers.
- Install ramps on stairs so that it’s easy for everyone (including those with wheelchairs!) to get around the house safely.
- The best strategy is one that fits your life—make sure you consider all aspects of your daily routine to find the right solution for you.
Ideas for Smoother Transition into Aging-In-Place
1. Make Entry Access Easier
Aging In place home plans starts with the entry access, You don’t want to have to carry groceries, walkers, and all kinds of other stuff up a step or two. So instead of doing that, try installing a few indoor threshold ramps. These are simple ramps that you can install in front of your door so that you can walk over without having to lift anything up or over anything. They are very easy to install and will make life much easier for everyone who uses them.
2. Consider First-Floor Living
When you’re thinking about aging-in-place, you might be tempted to think about moving to a more spacious home. However, that might not be the best option for you.
Consider moving to the first floor living instead! This is mostly a universal design that allows you to keep your independence while still being able to age in place. You can still have a larger existing space, but at ground level and with fewer stairs to climb.
3. Make the Bathroom Safer
Bathroom safety modifications are one of the most important things to have when you’re aging in place. Here are some ideas for making your master bath safer:
- Grab bars are an invaluable tool in the master bath. It’s a great way to make sure you’re safe while you’re getting ready. Simply install one of these grab bars on each side of your sink, over the toilet, or wherever else you may need it.
- Install a seat-lift or raised toilet seat so that you don’t have to strain yourself while sitting down or standing back up again.
- Many people find it difficult to get in and out of the bathtub or walk-in shower. This can be due to several factors, including arthritis, weak muscles, or balance problems. A seat lift can help to make getting in and out of the tub much easier. A seat lift is a platform that you can sit on that will swing your legs over the edge of the tub. Most models also have a handle attached so that you can steady yourself as you stand up. A raised toilet seat can also be very helpful, especially if you have difficulty squatting down. Raised toilet seats are placed over the existing toilet seat and add an extra few inches of height. This can make it much easier to sit down and stand back up again. If you are struggling with mobility issues, a seat lift or raised toilet seat can be a valuable addition to your bathroom.
- Make sure all of your bathroom fixtures are easy to reach and use; this includes natural light switches, soap dispensers, and towel racks.
Have Wheelchair Access
One of the most important things to consider when you’re looking for a place to live is whether or not it will be easy for you to get around. If you’re an older adult experiencing retirement who uses a wheelchair, but you don’t want to move into assisted living because it would mean giving up your independence, there are some things you can do to make it easier for yourself. For example, community-based services can help you with things like transportation and grocery shopping.
There are also several products on the market that can make your life easier, like motorized scooters and recliners. And, of course, there are always modifications that can be made to your home to make it more accessible. With a little bit of planning, you can make sure that you have the level of independence that you want, even if you’re using a wheelchair.
4. Make Your Stairs Safer (If First Floor Living not possible)
If you’re aging in place, you may need to make your stairs safer. This can be done by adding a handrail on both sides or having a stair lift. Make sure the height of the stair treads is uniform. You can also add a landing halfway down for added stability.
If you live in an older home that has no first-floor living possible, it’s important to consider how to make your stairs safer for fall prevention and will help those who are aging or have mobility issues. You should always consult with a professional when making any home modification, not every housing market has the same safety regulations.
5. Setup Pull-out and pull-down shelving
One of the biggest challenges facing aging-in-place homeowners is the challenge of finding a place for everything. We have all had to deal with this problem at one point or another, and it can be frustrating!
If you are preparing your home for an aging parent or other loved one, here are some easy ways to set up pull-out and pull-down shelving that will make finding things easier and more convenient:
1. Use clear containers with lids for frequently-used items like snacks, drinks, and medications. This will keep them organized in one place, so they’re easy to find when needed.
2. Place plastic bins on shelves in areas where items will be stored long-term (like under the sink). The bins should be labeled with what’s inside each one—this way anyone using living spaces can see what’s there without having to open every single container to see what’s inside it first!
3. Use pegboard hooks for lightweight items such as clothes hangers or hand towels so they can easily be moved around without having to move heavy furniture around too much when cleaning up after guests leave after visiting over the holidays – this makes cleaning up more manageable!
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6. Multi-level counters
At most housing market, Multi-level counters are great for storing items that you don’t want to see all the time. You can use them to store appliances like coffeemakers, blenders, and slow cookers, as well as other small appliances such as toasters or food processors. You can also use them in a bathroom to hold items like razors or toothbrushes and make sure they’re always within reach but out of sight.
7. Slip resistance Floors
Home builders and elders alike love slip resistance Floors that are comfortable to walk on and are important in any home. If you have hardwood floors, it’s a good idea to invest in some anti-slip mats that will prevent dangerous accidents or injuries from occurring. You can also purchase non-slip socks for yourself or your family members who are constantly walking around barefoot!
8. Clutter Free and Open floor plan
When you’re starting to plan for aging in place, it’s important to make sure your home is clutter-free and open. Clutter can be dangerous for older adults, and it can make it difficult for them to get around. An open floor plan will help you keep an eye on your loved ones as well as give them more space to move around.
9. Bright & functional lighting
If you’ve lived in your home for a while, you likely have some sort of lighting that’s just not working anymore. Maybe it’s dim, or maybe the bulbs are burnt out, but either way, it’s time to upgrade! Bright and functional lighting is key to aging-in-place. It’s important to be able to see what you’re doing as you get older so that you can avoid falling or hurting yourself.
10. Flat-panel light switches
Flat-panel light switches are an easy way to make your home more accessible. They’re easier to reach, and they don’t require you to bend over or stretch in any way. If you have trouble with mobility, this is a great solution.
You can get them at any hardware store or home improvement center. You’ll need a drill and screwdriver, but otherwise, installation is pretty straightforward. You just take out your old switch plate and put the new one in its place.
Designing Your Kitchen for Aging in Place
11. Kitchen Layout Design
The layout of your kitchen is one of the most important considerations when using universal opens in a new windowdesign principles for aging in place. A simple shift in the flow of traffic can make a big difference in how easily you can navigate the space with less help, and also how much you enjoy being there.
When designing your kitchen, consider:
- A clear path from one side of the kitchen to another (especially if you are planning on adding an island)
- A clear path from stove to sink and back again, with no obstacles in between (like cabinets)
- A clear path from the refrigerator to counter space, with no obstacles in between (like cabinets)
12. Senior Friendly Appliances
Senior-friendly appliances can make your kitchen a lot more accessible for aging in place.
Per universal design principles, for your kitchen, we recommend you consider:
1. a dishwasher with a low-reach rack so it’s easy to load and unload dishes while seated
2. a stovetop with burners at a height that’s comfortable for sitting down and standing up (you’ll probably want to consider induction cooktops)
3. a refrigerator with drawers that are at a height that makes them easy to reach when you’re sitting or standing up
13. Prep Space
Something that is often overlooked when it comes to a kitchen’s universal design is the prep space. This is the area where you do the majority of your food preparation, so it’s important to make sure it’s comfortable and functional. The countertop should be at a height that is comfortable for you to work on, and there should be plenty of storage space for all of your tools and appliances.
The flooring should be non-slip, and there should be enough lighting so that you can see what you’re doing. These are just a few things to keep in mind when creating your perfect prep space. a family member will be using it too, so make sure to take their needs into account as well. With a little planning, you can create a prep space that everyone will love. Thanks for reading!
The floors you choose in your kitchen are essential to aging in place. You want to make sure that the floors are easy to clean, but also comfortable and safe for everyone who uses them.
- Consider a floor that is easy for you to clean and maintain, but also durable and resilient. If you have pets or children, you will want a floor that can stand up to their wear and tear.
- Choose a flooring material that is slip-resistant so your loved ones don’t get injured on the way from one area of the house to another.
- Make sure the color of your flooring complements its surroundings so that it blends into the rest of your kitchen without becoming an eyesore or tripping hazard.
Small Upgrades to Make Daily Life A Lot Easier
15. Help on Wheels
As we age, it can become more difficult to keep up with the tasks of everyday life. If you are an older adult and find yourself struggling to keep up with yard work, cleaning, or other tasks around the house, consider opens in a new windowAssistance for seniors. This service is not a universal design, but it is designed to help you stay independent living, and safe in your home by assisting with a variety of tasks. They also offer financial assistance to those who qualify. So if you’re looking for some help to have independent living and safe in your home, be sure to check out Help on Wheels.
16. Slide-Out Table
If you have a small kitchen, you may be tempted to keep the table against the wall. While this isn’t a universal design; this is a great addition to your home. It can make it hard to move around and clean up after meals. A slide-out table is an easy way to free up some space in your kitchen, even if you only use it once in a while.
Just slide the table out when you need it, then push it back in when you don’t. You can even buy a locking mechanism that keeps it from sliding out accidentally!
17. Light the Way
One of the most important things you can do to make your home easier to navigate is to make sure that you have plenty of lighting throughout the house, and not just the ‘universal design’.
This can be as simple as placing a few lamps in key areas, or it could mean installing overhead lights in addition to your ceiling fans. If you have stairs, consider putting lights on them so that people don’t end up falling on them at night.
Another way to make sure that everyone can easily find their way around the house is by adding more color-coded labels on doors and cabinets. You can use stickers or opens in a new windowpaint markers to make everything more easily identifiable, especially for people with low vision or who are just getting older.
18. Artful Support
If you have a big TV in your living room, consider adding support for it so that it doesn’t fall over if someone bumps into it. This can be as simple as putting a small shelf under the TV or buying an inexpensive table with wheels to put underneath. If you have other large items around your house that could easily tip over, such as bookcases or dressers, make sure they’re properly secured so they don’t cause any accidents.
19. Adaptable Spray
If you have a large wall in your house, consider putting up a pegboard or other type of adaptable spray. This will allow you to hang tools, decorations, and other items on the wall instead of having them lying around on surfaces or cluttering up drawers.
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Additional Tips for Age In Place Home Plans
20. Be Realistic
The first step to building an age-in-place home is to think about the things that are important to you. Make a list of your needs, wants, and desires, and then start looking for a plan that fits them.
If you have trouble making a list of what you need or want in a house, ask your family and friends what they would like to see in their ideal home.
If you have trouble finding plans that fit your list, it might be time to go back to the drawing board.
21. Invest in Aids
When you’re older, it’s easy to get into the habit of doing things that are routine and familiar. But it’s important not to get stuck in a rut—and that means making sure you’re using all the tools at your disposal to stay safe and independent. That means investing in aids like grab bars, ramps, and other products that can help you stay independent and safe in your own home.
This is especially important if you have any physical limitations or disabilities that might make it difficult for you to maneuver around without help.
22. Tune in to Technology
Technology can be a great way to stay connected to the world, even when you’re at home. If you want to age in place, your home must have technology that keeps you up-to-date with the outside world. You can get internet service through satellite or cable companies, and there are many televisions with built-in streaming apps.
You can also purchase an Amazon Echo or Google Home device that allows you to control lights and thermostats remotely. In addition, medical alert systems and durable medical equipment can help you maintain your independence and safety at home. By taking advantage of the many available technological advances, you can make your home a comfortable and convenient place to live.
23. Declutter the home
This is one of the most important things you can do to prepare for aging in place. If you live in a house with a lot of clutter, it’s going to be difficult for you to get around and may even cause injuries if you do fall. This doesn’t mean that you have to get rid of all your belongings—just make sure that everything has its own existing space and is easy to reach.
24. Invest in decent flooring
When you’re designing a home to age-in-place, it’s important to choose flooring that will be comfortable, durable, and low maintenance. If you have pets or children, hardwood or opens in a new windowtile floors are a good choice because they can withstand heavy traffic and are easy to clean. If you’re concerned about heat retention, dark-colored flooring will absorb heat instead of reflecting it into the room.
In addition, if you think you may eventually move to an assisted living community, it’s important to take note of their flooring to ensure your safety. For example, many low-income seniors live in assisted living communities that have carpeted floors. However, this type of flooring can be dangerous for seniors who are at risk of falling. As a result, it’s important to choose the flooring that will be safe and comfortable for you throughout your life.
25. Dress appropriately
When you’re designing your age-in-place home, be sure to dress appropriately for the room you’re in. For example, if you’re planning on spending most of your time in the kitchen, consider a color scheme that’s easy on the eyes and makes it easy to see things—like white walls and light-colored cabinets. If you’re planning on spending most of your time in the living room, then invest in furniture that’s comfortable and provides enough support for your body type.
26. Watch pets
Pets are a part of the family, and they deserve to be included in all aspects of your life.
If you have pets, you may have to adjust your existing space to accommodate them. You might need to include a larger backyard or add a pet door so they can come and go as they please. In addition, you’ll want to check for any allergy issues that could be exacerbated by bringing a pet into the house.
Get Expert Advice (Aging-in-Place Specialist)
If you’re a homeowner who’s in the process of planning an Age In Place home, or if you’re already living in one, it’s important to work with an aging-in-place specialist. A specialist can help you evaluate the safety of your home and make any necessary changes before they become major problems.
The best way to find an aging-in-place specialist is through your local chamber of commerce or senior center. You can also search online for a certified professional in your area.
Age in Place is a growing trend as the population ages. By planning your home for success, you can maintain your independence and live in your home safely and comfortably for years to come. If you’re considering a reverse mortgage to help with expenses, I am here to answer all of your questions and help you through the process. Give me a call or schedule a free consultation today.