Designing Your Home for Aging in Place

According to a recent survey conducted by AARP 1 “data shows that 77 percent of adults 50 and older want to remain in their homes for the long term — a number that has been consistent for more than a decade”. At Robert K. Ace Jr. Construction, a question that we often get from prospective homebuyers is, “what features can we include in our home so that it will serve us for the long term?”

This is a list of features that you may want to ask about when speaking with one of our sales representatives or any builder that you are considering when designing a new home.

1. Are you located in or relocating to an area that fits your lifestyle?
– Are you close to family or friends?
– Are there activities that you enjoy nearby?
– If you are unable to drive, is there access to public transportation, car services or a relative, friend, or neighbor who can assist you in getting around?
– Are you close to healthcare or emergency medical services?
2. Is the home accessible or able to be converted easily so that it is accessible from the outside?
– Is the driveway and/or parking area sized so that you can easily get in/out of your vehicle?
– How many steps are there to get into the main level of the home? Are railings included?
– Is there room in the garage or at the front entry so that a ramp could be installed?
– What are the sizes of the entry doors?
3. Which house styles are most suitable for aging in place?
– Ranch-style homes are the most accessible
– Homes with the Owner’s Bedroom on the first floor are the next best option.
– Two-story homes are typically the least accessible.
4. Does the layout of the home allow for easy passage between rooms/spaces?
– Are there any narrow hallways or restrictive spaces? A 3-foot-wide clearance is a good minimum to look for. A 4-foot-wide clearance is better and a suitable maximum for most
cases.
– 3-foot-wide doors are a good size for wheelchair or walker accessibility without being overly
large and difficult to operate.
5. What features can I add to make my Kitchen more accessible?
– Include extra room for maneuverability.
– Make sure your work triangle (sink/range/refrigerator) is efficient.
– Consider multilevel countertops so that you can work either standing or seated.
– Are the cabinets reachable? Can a pull-down shelf or pullout-step be added to access the
upper cabinets? Is there an option for pull-out cabinet shelves in the base cabinets?
– Consider lever style pulls instead of knobs.
6. What features can I add to make by Bathroom more accessible?
– Include extra room for maneuverability.
– Factor in seating arrangements, such as a shower bench or walk-in tub/shower.
– Add grab bars or blocking within the walls for future grab bars.
– Are the tub/shower controls accessible? An adjustable height shower wand with a hose to
reach the seating area is one option.
7. What interior finishes and accessories are needed?​
– Make sure that your door handles are easy to grasp. D-shaped handles or a loop handles
are more accessible than knobs.
– Choose floor options with good slip-resistance. A DCOF (Dynamic Coefficient of Friction)
rating of at least 0.42 is good for wet floor areas.
– Pick continuous flooring options with texture. Avoid area rugs. Non-slip LVP or low-pile
carpeting are good options.
– Minimize door curbs or flooring transitions that separate different types of flooring material.
– Choose finishes that are easy to clean and maintain.
– Include enough lighting so that you can easily navigate around furniture and other
obstacles. Plan a good mix of sunlight and artificial light.
– Make sure that switches and outlets are within reach ranges and easily accessible.
– Consider heating and cooling options that give you flexibility to easily change the temperature to adjust for your comfort level (which can be more difficult to regulate as you age).
– Make sure that safety features are included such as smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers and phone service. A built-in medical alert device may be needed for homeowners with medical conditions.

While this list is not meant to be exhaustive, it’s a good place to start when thinking about your forever home. Our knowledgeable sales representatives and designers will be more than happy to answer any additional questions that you may have. Below is a list of additional resources.

Give Us a Call Today to Get the Conversation Started 844-420-9908