The aging of the so-called “baby boomers” in the US comes along with its own sets of concerns. Not every senior is destined for assisted living or a nursing home, and many choose to stay in their homes for the rest of their lives.
But aging has its own sets of issues, many of which may not work with the current design of a home. This is particularly true for someone who has issues with mobility.
“Aging in place” is more than just a buzzword. It’s a new field of architectural design that accommodates older and/or disabled individuals and their specific needs when building or remodeling a home. Because every client has different needs, it isn’t a “one size fits all” concept, but one that’s personalized for each individual’s needs.
What Is Aging In Place?
It’s the concept of making changes to a current home or other property to accommodate the owner’s needs as they age. (We discussed this briefly in our previous blog on new rules for ohanas.)
With aging in place, a homeowner can comfortably remain in their homes safely while maintaining their independence as their physical abilities change. In some cases, it may mean remodeling, but it may also mean simple changes to make everyday life easier for the resident.
Although Americans are living longer, they are not always in ideal shape. Some will experience a marked change in mobility and physical abilities, necessitating changes, and modifications to meet those needs.
Additionally, some homeowners are moving an aging family member into their homes, and need to make accommodations for them.
The Centers for Disease Control defines aging in place as, “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently and comfortably, regardless of age, income or ability level.” Accomplishing this goal can include new construction, retrofitting an existing structure, or some smaller, less expensive changes that make the home more accommodating.
Another concept that works with aging in place is the concept of universal design. Instead of designing solely for aging, universal design is the idea that a home should be designed for every stage of life. Design a space attractively, and ensure that everyone can visit, regardless of age or abilities.
The idea isn’t a set design, but to anticipate the future needs of the homeowner as they age. Many of the design concepts are intended to mitigate the potential for hazards long before they’re needed, such as accessibility ramps or handrails. Most are part of the design rather than an aftermarket solution.
Small Projects For Aging In Place
Some of the ways you can modify an existing home right now include:
- Slip-resistant surfaces in bathtub and shower surfaces
- Moving bedroom and bath areas to the first floor of a multi-story home
- Non-slip flooring, particularly in the bathroom area, that’s easy to clean and offers some protection in case of a fall, such as:
- Non-slip vinyl
- Wider doorways to accommodate possible wheelchair needs, 32 inches to 36 inches wide
- Replace doorknobs with easier-to-use door levers
- Have one entrance that is step-free, and easy to use by anyone, even in a wheelchair
These are less expensive than a complete remodel and can be completed quickly.
Call Pro Draft For Aging In Place Design Needs
Need some help with aging in place design or remodeling? Pro Draft is ready to help with architecture, drawings, blueprints, permits, and to answer all of your questions before we start. We’re happy to help and will work to ensure your project is exactly the way you envision.