As we prepare for our futures, the concept of “aging in place” has become increasingly important. Whether you are a landlord looking to make accommodations for long-term tenants, an investor prepping properties to best serve aging buyers, a business owner designing your space to meet the needs of changing generations, or even just planning on sprucing up your home for general longevity and comfort — considering how designs can facilitate easier living as we get older is essential. In this blog post, we will explore key considerations when designing the home for aging in place.
Aging in place, as defined by MN.gov, refers to a person residing in their home of choice for as long as they are able as they age. This includes the ability to have any services or other support transported to their house as their needs change over time.
- Think ahead when designing and consider how the design will function across different generations.- Elderly individuals may require special accommodations such as ramps, adjustable furniture, and larger doorways.
- Utilize technology to create a safe and secure environment for aging in place that can be monitored remotely.
- Incorporate elements of Universal Design, which are features that are created to be usable for all ages and abilities.
Considerations for Designing a Home for Aging in Place
Mobility and accessibility
Designing a home for aging in place is an important consideration and the key to making it successful is thoughtful design. Mobility and accessibility can be enhanced with wide doorways and ramps, grab bars and non-slip flooring. Additionally, building and appliance materials that are sturdy for those needing additional assistance as well as considering any special requirements, such as a chair lift or widened hallways, are also beneficial when designing a home for aging in place. Ensuring these details are taken into account, it will make life easier and safer for those staying in the home.
Designing a home for aging in place can be a daunting process, but there are some important considerations to keep in mind. One key element is having adequate lighting. Not only does it make carrying out everyday activities easier, but it dramatically reduces the chances of falls, one of the primary safety concerns for seniors living at home. It’s important to have enough light that allows you to move from room to room without having to adjust your vision. Installing energy-efficient bulbs that provide white illumination and gentle night lights for nighttime visibility can help ensure peace of mind.
Designing a home for aging in place is no easy task. Making important considerations regarding the kitchen, such as accessible appliances, lowered counters, and cabinets must be made. These key elements will ensure that the elderly occupants have easier access to preparing meals and food storage. Investing in quality fixtures and accessories is also necessary to ensure they are strong enough to remain durable in the long run.
Designing a home that allows for aging in place entails taking into account specific features that ensure accessibility and independence. For instance, the bathroom may need to include amenities such as a walk-in shower with ample space for maneuvering, a raised toilet for seated comfort, grab bars for added stability and support, and non-slip flooring to prevent falls. These details can make all the difference in allowing those 55 or older to increase their odds of living out their golden years with ease and peace of mind.
When designing a home for aging in place, there are certain considerations to keep in mind, particularly when it comes to the design of the master bedroom. Easy access to the bed is extremely important as beds that are too low may be difficult for those with mobility difficulties to get into. Those who benefit from an adjustable bed may require more space than a regular bed requires.
As people age, it’s natural to want to remain in the familiar comfort of their own homes. To make sure they feel safe and comfortable, it is important to consider adding special features when designing or remodeling a home for aging in place. Smart home technologies like automated lighting, thermostats, and door locks can be incorporated into the design to improve safety and help loved ones maintain independence for as long as possible. Many of these features are user-friendly and cost-effective, making them excellent additions to any home designed for aging in place.
How to Start Designing a Home for Aging in Place
Identify the areas of the home that need modification
Designing a home for aging in place requires thoughtful consideration of the existing layout and modifications that can be made to create a safe and comfortable space. Start by assessing which areas of your home need to be modified in order to make them more senior-friendly, such as bedrooms with safety features, like non-slip flooring and handrails, as well as bathrooms with walk-in showers or baths.
When designing living spaces, focus on comfortable furniture or adjustable bed heights and furniture that is easily reachable so seniors can perform everyday tasks independently. Look at expanding doorways or implementing automatic doors that don’t require twisting or pulling to open. Lastly, consider installing ramps to minimize the use of stairs while providing access to the outdoors.
Hire an architect or interior designer with experience in aging-in-place design
If you are looking to create a home that is safe and comfortable for aging in place, it’s important to consult with a professional. An experienced architect or an interior designer who specializes in aging-in-place design will serve as an invaluable resource. Not only will they have detailed knowledge regarding the safety and accessibility measures necessary for creating livable space, but they will also be able to help you realize your aesthetic vision in a creative and thoughtful way. As a homeowner, hiring an expert is essential for ensuring that all the details of your project are accounted for and built according to applicable codes and standards.
Determine the budget and timeline for the project
When thinking of designing a home for aging in place, it’s important to consider the budget and timeline for the project. From creating a detailed list of the materials needed to scheduling professional services, having an accurate estimate of time and cost can help ensure that everything runs smoothly throughout the process. Taking some time upfront to assess how much money will be needed, when each step needs to be completed, and understanding when more flexibility may be necessary can go a long way in helping create a well-designed space.
Tips for Implementing Aging-in-Place Design
Choose durable and easy-to-clean materials
When it comes to aging-in-place design, one of the most important steps is selecting materials that will stand up to the test of time. Durable and easy-to-clean materials are an ideal choice as they can help ensure your home stays looking beautiful for longer. Not only do these materials offer more longevity, but they also provide ease when cleaning is needed due to the lower maintenance required.
Consider energy-efficient features
When it comes to aging-in-place design, one important tip is to consider energy-efficient features. By implementing energy-efficient features like triple pane windows, blower door tests, and high-efficiency heaters, you can lower your environmental impact while also reducing utility costs and promoting a healthier living environment. Not only is this good for the planet, but it’s also possible that some of these modifications could eventually pay for themselves in the long run. Easy changes such as upgrading existing installations—such as light fixtures or electrical systems—to more efficient models can go a long way towards improving efficiency.
Ensure that the home is well-ventilated
Implementing aging-in-place design involves making adjustments to the home environment that will help a senior life safely and comfortably. One of the best tips for any homeowner looking to age in place is to ensure that the home has good ventilation. When the air within a space is constantly replaced with fresh, outside air it improves the quality of life within that home. Better ventilation helps rid allergens, reduce odors, keep humidity levels down, and bring in much-needed oxygen. Taking steps to make a home as ventilated as possible can make inhabiting it much easier and more bearable overall.
Make sure there is enough storage space
When you’re planning an aging-in-place design, the most important factor to consider is storage. With everything from mobile devices and equipment to medication needing to be stored, there have to be plenty of options throughout the home for easy access. Look for physically accessible spaces with easy pull handles that can handle heavier items. Consider using suspended shelving units or multi-level cabinetry which allows for vertical access with fewer items blocking any one space. For those who use wheelchairs, make sure entrances are wide enough and there are no thresholds that might impede movement. Lastly, don’t forget to incorporate personal design choices and features special to their lifestyle so they can feel comfortable while aging in their own home.
Incorporate aesthetic features to create a welcoming atmosphere
When planning for aging-in-place design, consider the aesthetic features necessary to create a welcoming atmosphere. Incorporate warm, inviting colors, comfortable and supportive furniture that is easy to get in and out of, adequate lighting for tasks and mobility, as well as ample storage space to minimize clutter. Adding personal touches such as artwork or a cozy area rug encourages more social interaction and can help bring joy throughout the home. Safety should also be considered when implementing aging-in-place design – think safety railings on stairs, tubs, showers, and non-skid surfaces; a grab bar in key areas and door levers instead of knobs.
Designing The Home For Aging In Place FAQs
What are some design considerations for aging in place?
Designing a home to accommodate aging in place requires special considerations that ensure the safety and comfort of the inhabitants. Open floor plans with few obstructions allow increased movement, while better lighting systems illuminate key spots such as walkways or areas with potential hazards. Larger windows also add natural light to a room as well as create a more accommodating atmosphere.
Additionally, ensuring ample existing space between furniture pieces can provide enough space for maneuverability.
Furthermore, keeping access to the bathroom easy and providing a shower seat for stability during bathing are important considerations – especially for individuals with limited mobility. Making these thoughtful changes in design can assist homeowners in living comfortably at home well into their later years.
Do I need to make major renovations to my home to accommodate aging in place?
Not necessarily. Many of the changes to make a home accommodating for aging in place can be completed without major renovations. These small, cost-effective changes help create an environment that is more accessible and supportive. Such modifications include installing chair rails, adding lever handles instead of knobs to doors and cabinets, and placing nonslip mats in bathrooms and tubs. Other changes, such as increasing the natural light in a home or widening doorways to accommodate wheelchairs, may require more involved renovations.
Can technology be used to assist with the aging-in-place design?
Yes, technology is playing a major role in the design process of aging in place. Homeowners can now choose from a wide range of products to keep them safe and secure while at home. Innovative light switches and electrical outlets can be installed that are motion-activated or voice-controlled; this allows for light to be easily accessible without fumbling for light switches in the dark.
Motion-sensing lights are also great for providing light when occupants enter a room, ensuring that everything is illuminated just as needed. Caregivers even have access to mobile apps to remotely monitor their loved one’s activity. With the aid of modern technology, aging in place has become much more feasible, allowing people stay comfortable and safer in their own homes for longer.
What are some design considerations for the bathroom when aging in place?
When designing a master bath for aging in place, safety should be the top priority. Include non-slip surfaces in the shower and tub, as well as support bars to increase stability while using them. Ensure that there is plenty of space between fixtures to make maneuvering easier, and also consider installing a walk-in bathtub or shower with no-step access to make bathing more accessible. Adding a hand wand showerhead and adjustable sink height can also be helpful.
Is it necessary to hire a professional to design a home for aging in place?
According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Remodelers’ Council, 74 percent of remodelers surveyed reported an increase in requests for universal design solutions so homeowners can age in place.
In this situation, it is beneficial to consult a professional in order to have the best possible outcome when designing a home for aging in place. An expert will be able to provide helpful insights and guidance that could help homeowners make smart decisions, as well as guide them through any hurdles they may face along the way. Additionally, professionally-trained designers possess the knowledge on how to effectively incorporate all required modifications into the home they are developing.
It’s never too early to start thinking about how you can age in place comfortably and safely. The ideas we’ve discussed in this blog post are just a starting point – there are limitless possibilities for customizing your home to fit your needs as you age. If you’d like help exploring all the options available to you, give me a call or schedule a free consultation. I specialize in helping people plan for their retirement years, and I’d be happy to answer any questions you have about reverse mortgages or other options that may be right for you. Give me a call today and let me help you plan for a comfortable future!