Aging in place has been often-repeated in today’s home building/buying lexicon. Baby Boomers are reaching the age of retirement in record numbers and we are planning how to live the next phase of life. Ideally, we want to live comfortably and happily in a space designed specifically to meet our current and future needs. Likewise, most of us want to remain independent and seek homes that will aid us in maintaining our independence.
The Perfect Age in Place Floor Plan
The perfect age in place floor plan is not one plan. Rather it is a combination of necessary items, arranged in a design that is pleasing to the individual(s) who will occupy the space. Not all suggestions are necessary for each person looking to create an age in place floor plan. However, a combination that suits your lifestyle and abilities will go a long way in helping you plan and design the perfect age in place home.
1. A single level floor plan makes a repeat appearance on this list for good reason. Flights of stairs may present issues for one or more people in the household as aging takes place.
2. An Open floor plan with fewer obstructions. Avoid pieces that clog traffic patterns and don’t use throw rugs.
3. A manageable kitchen with conveniently located storage and a reasonably sized island. Easy access and an open flow pattern remain important.
4. Hallways/Passageways that are wider than the standard, able to accommodate a wheelchair, should one become necessary. This would also include doors without thresholds, so transitioning thru the doorway is smooth. No tripping allowed.
5. Upgrade your lighting. Our eyesight declines as we age. Add more lighting in tricky, often dark places such as stairways and hallways, as well as bathrooms and kitchens, where task-specific lighting will be most useful. Consider adding more light switches outside rooms and raising outlets to a more convenient height.
6. Install zero clearance shower entries with wide openings. Ease of access is imperative if someone experiences mobility issues.
7. No-step main entry or one that is easily adapted should a ramp become necessary.
8. Attached garage with a no-step entry. For those of us who live in cooler to colder climates, an attached garage is ideal for cold or rainy days. If an attached garage isn’t possible, a covered walkway connecting the house and garage is the next best thing, again utilizing no-step entries.
9. Care and maintenance of the home should be considered when designing your new home. Choose products that require little or no maintenance. These products will offer dual benefits of good looks and lasting performance. You can reduce landscape maintenance, too, by choosing native plants and installing a time-activated sprinkler system. Radiant heat may sound like a luxury, but it is an efficient way to heat a home. The same can be said for a good HVAC system.