It’s important to feel comfortable in your own home, especially as you age. So what should you include in your aging in place house plans? Read the ultimate checklist.
Are you planning on renovating your home soon? If you’re in your 50’s or 60’s, it’s worth considering how you’ll design your home for aging in place. It’s not something you want to think about right now, but in time you’ll need to consider your home working with you as you age.
It’s no secret that the average population is getting older. The number of people who are 65 and over is set to double before 2050, and so more and more are considering how they can stay home as they get older. It’s not ideal to have to move to a nursing home or somewhere else away from the home you love.
That’s why you should consider aging in place as you design your home. New York City put out an Ageing In Place guide in 2016 that’s packed full of ideas to make your home safe and ready for your needs as you get older.
Here’s what you should do to renovate your home and make it ready.
Lighting is a big part of the Aging In Place guide. As you grow older, your eyesight may be affected. When this happens, the right lighting can still make it easier to get around your home.
The biggest problem with lighting is glare and shadows, which can create trip hazards if you have poor eyesight. To reduce this, look into installing indirect lighting. As well as this, consider how often the bulbs will need to be changed. Now is the time to switch over to LED light bulbs, as they last for a lot longer.
Consider the light switches too. They need to be around 18 to 24 inches off the ground, so there’s no need for you to bend down to reach them. Two switches are a good idea, especially in the bedroom. You can turn the lights on to come into the room, and then turn them off when you get into bed with a switch near the bed itself.
Handles are something you won’t have thought about, but you’ll need something that’s easy to grip and move. If you have doorknobs currently, think about switching them out for door levers. These are much easier to move, even with limited mobility in your hands.
You’ll want to think about the handles in your kitchen, too. D-shaped handles are best as they’re easily gripped and pulled, without fuss.
The flooring in your home is very important when renovating, as you want something that’s soft and comfortable without creating trip hazards. When choosing a flooring type, look into using softer options like cork tiles and vinyl flooring. They’re softer underfoot than options like hardwood, but they still give you a smooth surface. Avoid high pile carpets, as these are more hazardous.
The levels of the floor in your home are important too. Keep the flooring as level as you can. If you can’t, then a good trick is to use a different flooring material to signal a change in the flooring levels. You can even make the threshold more obvious by painting it a different color if you can.
Any stairs in your home may become more challenging as you grow older. You’ll need to plan ahead for this, so you can still get around your home with ease. For example, you can widen your staircases so they can easily accommodate a stairlift if needed.
Outside, look at any exterior steps. You can often add ramps in order to facilitate wheelchairs and other accessibility devices. These will make it easier to get in and out of your home.
This is the big renovation most people think about when they’re working on aging in place house plans. Being able to continue to bathe yourself in your own home is very important, and will allow you much more dignity.
The great thing about most modern renovation options is that they look great, and won’t stand out as ‘mobility aids’ in your bathroom. For example, you can buy grab rails for your bathroom that look just like towel rails. Be sure to buy actual grab rails for this purpose, as towel rails aren’t designed to take the right amount of weight.
While you’re in the bathroom, look at how you’ll design the shower. The best showers for aging in place are walk-in or no-threshold showers. If you can put a bench in there, that’s even better. If you aren’t able to put in a whole new shower though, you can put in tiles along the base that are a different color to the rest of the tiles, to create contrast and reduce tripping hazards.
Also, check the water temperature in the bathroom. Anti-scald water devices are easy to have installed, and they are perfect for reducing injuries from too hot water.
Look at your kitchen too, when making renovations. As you get older, changes may need to happen so you can continue using your kitchen as you have been for years. The kitchen cabinet handles have already been covered, so what else do you need to know?
Firstly, look into creating seating for when you’re cooking. As you grow older, it may become harder to stand for long, so create a surface where you can sit and prepare meals. You can add in a rolling kitchen island, as they work really well for those with walkers or wheelchairs.
Think about where you place storage, too. You’ll want to place it somewhere safe, where you can reach things easily. For example, don’t place cabinets over a stove, as having to lean over a potentially hot appliance can lead to injury.
As you can see, there are renovations you can make to your aging in place house plans for better convenience, without impacting on style. When planning a renovation, keep these tips in mind. You’ll be able to set your home up for the years ahead and be able to stay in your home as you get older.