Home DIY and Improvement

15 Home Design Tips for Aging In Place

15 Home Design Tips for Aging In Place

Aging in place is a growing trend and a need. It reflects a desire for seniors to stay in their familiar homes and avoid institutionalized care. This can be a cost-effective decision in a world with expensive caregiving. Additionally, aging in place allows seniors to retain a significant sense of their identity and dignity. Consider making these modifications in your home.

  1. Step-Free Entries

Step-free entries are crucial for preventing falls, especially during cold and wet months. Tripping and difficulty walking can be early signs of ms or als and addressing access needs early reduces injuries and stress. Move earth or use poured concrete to level the walkway from the outdoors to indoors.

  1. Ramps

Good ramps can be safe access measures for people on wheels or walking. Be careful with the slope and make sure that your ramp will pass local building codes. Outdoor ramps can become icy in the winter, and placing textured treads or building one in a heated garage can increase ease of use.

  1. No Area Rugs

Area rugs are fall risks for people with low vision or reduced physical mobility. They can also make it more difficult to self-propel a wheelchair or walker in your own home. Think about lightly textured vinyl plank flooring or refinishing existing wood floors.

  1. Wide Doorways 

Many older homes have rather narrow doorways. This isn’t a problem for most young or mobile people, but it prevents ease of movement with wheelchairs and walkers. Widening doorways is a relatively simple task for a general contractor. It is best to follow the ADA door width guidelines.

  1. Lever Door Handles

Door handles can be tricky for people with grip challenges. Lever-style handles are generally easier to use independently than typical round handles. Service dogs can also be trained to open lever door handles.

  1. Bright Lighting

Supplement your natural lighting with new overhead fixtures and table lamps. Long-lasting LED light bulbs can ease the load of housework and reduce exposure to breakable materials. Think about using a remote and dimmer switch.

  1. Open Floor Plan

An open floor plan can be more mobility-aid friendly and help home caregivers address the needs of their clients. It is also simpler to find misplaced items in one area with clear sightlines. Consider removing non-supporting walls to open up your living space.

  1. Walk-In Shower 

A wet bathtub is a fall hazard and should be changed to a walk-in shower. A spacious walk-in shower can accommodate a bathing chair, product shelves, and a nearby towel hook. Add non-slip flooring to maximize safety and install a hand-held showerhead for flexibility over time.

  1. Bathroom Grab Bars

Grab bars should be bolted to the bathroom walls in and around the shower. There should also be secure grab bars in the toilet area. Having a strong bar to brace on during transfers is essential for independent use of the bathroom facilities.

  1. Elevated Seats

An elevated height toilet can prevent bathroom falls. It requires less muscle stability to sit and stand from a raised height. You can achieve this with a seat raiser on your existing toilet or install a new permanent fixture.

  1. Raised Front Load Washer and Dryer

Washing laundry can be a realistic long-term task with the right modifications. Move the laundry to the main floor or near the primary bedroom. There, place a side-by-side washer and dryer on raised platforms to reduce the need to bend over or reach far.

  1. Pull-Down Closet Hanging Rods

Use moving pull-down clothing rods for your items on hangers. This can eliminate the need to reach overhead and the potential to drop items from a significant height. Adapted hanging rods can be accessed while seated or standing.

  1. Counter-Height Microwave

Place your microwave on the kitchen counter or at a similar height to avoid spilling hot food. This enables people to prepare their own meals without turning on the stove or oven.

  1. Main-Level Bedroom

Situate the aging person or couple in a main-level bedroom of single-level living. This may require shuffling furniture or making a major addition.

  1. Mobility Aid Clearance 

Always consider the amount of space that is necessary to move around a bed or other furniture with a mobility aid. Check wheelchair and walker turning radiuses and factor in mobility aid storage space.

Aging in place can be a realistic and positive option for staying engaged during the later years.

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