Designing a Custom Home for Aging in Place

Schumacher Homes very important project aging in place

Designing a custom home for aging in place involves creating a space that is safe, accessible, and comfortable for older adults to live independently and comfortably as they age. Here are some key considerations and design elements to incorporate into your custom home:

Single-story layout: Opt for a single-story floor plan to eliminate the need for stairs and reduce the risk of being victims of falls. This ensures that all essential areas, such as bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, and laundry, are easily accessible without having to navigate stairs.

Open floor plan: Create an open and spacious layout that allows for easy maneuverability, especially for individuals using mobility aids like wheelchairs or walkers. Wide hallways and doorways (at least 36 inches wide) enable smooth movement throughout the home.

No-step entries: Eliminate steps at entryways by incorporating ramps, gently sloping walkways, or zero-threshold entrances. This makes it easier for individuals with mobility challenges and allows for seamless movement in and out of the house to prevent horror stories.

Lever handles and rocker switches: Replace traditional door knobs with lever handles and standard light switches with rocker switches. These features are easier to operate for individuals with arthritis or reduced hand strength.

Non-slip flooring: Choose flooring materials that are slip-resistant to minimize the risk of falls. Options like textured tiles, low-pile carpeting, or non-slip vinyl are suitable for high-traffic areas and bathrooms. Additionally, ensure smooth transitions between different flooring surfaces to prevent tripping hazards.

Ample lighting: Incorporate abundant natural light by incorporating large windows, skylights, and glass doors. Install adjustable window treatments to control glare and maintain privacy. Supplement natural light with well-placed artificial lighting, including task lighting in work areas and motion-activated night lights in hallways and bathrooms.

Bathroom accessibility: Design the bathrooms with accessibility in mind. Install grab bars near the toilet and shower/tub areas to provide stability and support. Consider a curbless or roll-in shower design for wheelchair accessibility. Use slip-resistant flooring and place a bench or seat in the shower area.

Kitchen convenience: Ensure the kitchen is user-friendly for individuals with reduced mobility. Consider adjustable-height countertops and pull-out shelves to minimize the need for bending or reaching. Install easy-to-use appliances, such as side-opening ovens, lever-handle faucets, and a well-designed island or peninsula for food preparation.

Reinforced walls: If you plan to incorporate grab bars in the future, consider reinforcing the bathroom walls during construction. This way, adding grab bars will be easier and more secure without the need for significant modifications.

Technology integration: Explore home automation and assistive technologies to enhance safety and convenience. This can include smart thermostats, voice-activated controls, remote monitoring systems, and emergency alert systems.

Outdoor accessibility: Pay attention to outdoor areas as well. Ensure well-maintained and slip-resistant walkways, adequate lighting for pathways, and comfortable seating areas. Consider raised garden beds or vertical gardens for easy access to gardening activities.

Personalization and aesthetics: Although functionality is crucial, don’t overlook the importance of personalization and aesthetics. Design the home to reflect your personal style and preferences, incorporating colors, textures, and decorative elements that create a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Remember, working with an experienced home builder like Schumacher Homes who specializes in universal design or aging in place can greatly assist in creating a custom home that meets your specific needs and ensures a comfortable and safe living environment for years to come.

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