Aging in place is a concept that homeowners are now embracing because the benefits are so clear: it offers the freedom and dignity to live in your home for a lifetime! From raising a young family, through busy midlife crises, and into your senior years, choosing the right home floor plans, products, and materials that help you stay in your home as you age is a smart decision. If you’re building a new home, think of aging in place as a design insurance policy that will help you remain at ease as you age with your home.
Universal Is Not One-Size-Fits-All
An AARP poll found that nearly 75% of people hope to stay in their homes as they age. Of course, not everyone ages in the same way, but the universal design works by incorporating home floor plans and products that can be used by the widest range of people no matter what challenges aging brings. That doesn’t mean settling for a cookie-cutter home. You’re still free to bring in design elements that reflect how you want to live your life!
At Abbey Design Center, we’re skilled at creating home floor plans that are not only stunning but also last your family for years to come. “Future-proofing” your home during the design process lets you plan for future needs, not struggle to meet them when you need them most. Here are some important things to keep in mind when creating your custom home floor plans and designs.
Even if you want to build a multi-story home, make sure there’s a bedroom, fully accessible bath, kitchen, and living area on the first floor. More than 40% of today’s homes include lower level master suites, which allows homeowners with mobility issues to avoid the stairs. To ensure easy access include at least one step-less, ground level entrance. Wider hallways and doorways make for easy passage both inside and to the outside, whether you’re mobile or not.
Aging in place bathrooms are about accessibility and safety, without sacrificing great looks.
- Doorways should be a minimum of 32 inches instead of the standard 24 to accommodate walkers and/or wheelchairs.
- A curbless shower with a bench and grab bars prevents trips, slips, and falls. Benches can be made of a beautiful wood or ceramic tile. Grab bars can be brushed nickel, bronze, or chrome. This adds a pop of color and uniqueness to the space as well as a sense of safety.
- Consider a taller-than-average toilet model and install at least one grab bar next to it. There are hundreds of attractive grab bars to choose from, and most can double as a towel rack.
You also don’t have to sacrifice your dream of a gourmet kitchen. Incorporating universal design is about adding convenience and safety. From flooring to countertops, think in terms of what will make for a modern yet safe experience.
- Whereas tile can be difficult to stand on for long periods of time, vinyl, wood, linoleum, and cork flooring are all kinder to your hips and back.
- Seated workspaces also help you get off your feet.
- Double-door refrigerators, a countertop or lower built-in microwave, and a separate cooktop and built-in oven are all more accessible.
- Install lighting under cabinets and counters.
- Outlets along the backsplash and in other convenient wall locations will provide easy and quick access to your electronic appliances.
Don’t Sacrifice Lifestyle or Luxury When Designing Your Home Floor Plans
Aging in place design does not mean giving up on the home of your dreams. No matter what your age, your home can be a beautiful space that your family will enjoy for generations. Function and beauty work together to make sure you sacrifice nothing in exchange for safety and accessibility. Properly executed universal design elements add value to your home and eliminate future alterations to accommodate multigenerational households. If you’re ready to start creating your dream custom home, or want to know more about the principles of aging in place design, schedule a conversation with us today.