Remodeling a home in order to age in place often requires structural changes like widening doors and removing walls, particularly to allow wheelchairs and other mobility devices to enter a room with ease. However, there are plenty of other ways to incorporate aging in place elements into a remodel without changing a home’s layout.
Here are some unique ideas to allow you to age in your current home comfortably and easily.
Starting in the Kitchen
Reaching into cabinets to grab a bowl, store pots, and pans can be a challenge as you age. Here are some ways to make the transition a bit easier:
• Drawers: Add pull out cabinets, slide out shelves and lazy Susans to eliminate difficult areas to reach.
• Pull out work surfaces: For wheelchair users, a work space designed for seated use is imperative. With a pull out work surface, you can fit your knees underneath to prep food with ease. To make it work in your home, look for cabinetry that incorporates pull out cutting boards. Or, consider implementing a table-style island and/or peninsula.
• Raised base cabinets: Taller toe-kicks will help raise base cabinetry off the floor. This allows you to reach the floor with less bending. Raising appliance boxes to certain heights means a more convenient operation of dishwashers, microwaves and wall ovens.
Bathroom Aging in Place Considerations
When it comes to universal design, incorporating aging in place design changes is imperative. With slippery floors, it’s important to think safety first. Here are some easy steps to make your bathroom safer as you age in place:
• Grab bars: Grab bars and rails are important to eliminate the risk of falls. Fortunately, there are sleeker designs available on the market to incorporate seamlessly into your bathroom design.
• Toilet: Comfort-height toilets can help make the transition from wheelchair to toilet a bit easier. Toilets with a seat between 16 and 17 inches above the floor work best for universal design.
• Drains: Streamlining the drain is the next best step toward shower accessibility. Linear drains require only a one-direction slope of the shower base for a faster and smoother installation.
Other Universal Design Changes Around the Home
Small changes can make a big difference — especially when it comes to universal design. When thinking about little things you can do around the home, don’t forget to include these easy fixes:
• Lever style door handles: Doorknobs can be difficult to grasp for achy handle. Lever handles make operation easier.
• Flooring: Smooth, low profile thresholds offer easier transitions between different types of flooring.
• Switch & Outlet Heights: When considering accessibility for homeowners, remember to lower a light switch for those in wheel chairs.
• Remote Controls: You can set up remote controls for different areas of the home, including lighting, HVAC, window shades, range hoods, and more. This can make it easier for those that have limited mobility.
• Mind your Gutters: When it comes to your home, keeping your gutters clear and clog-free is important to eliminate the potential threat of water-damage issues. Gutter cleaning can be particularly dangerous for those that are aging. Installing a gutter guard, like LeafFilter, can make all the difference between keeping your home protected and safe from expensive damages, and keep your loved ones off the ladder.
Learn more about how LeafFilter Gutter Protection works to end gutter cleaning for life and keep your entire home protected from expensive water related damages.