Aging In Place - Universal Design
Let's face it, we are all heading in the same direction - cradle to the grave. How we get there, and what kind of shape we are in when we get there, is mostly up to us. Planning for the future is key to a better quality of life later on. One way in which you can avoid costly remodeling for home accessibility, as you age, is by taking advantage of Universal Design. This is the latest and greatest in designing for the future to age in place. No more nursing homes if we can avoid it. Amen?
There are many things to consider when we talk about remaining in your home through the golden years. I believe we would all want more freedom of mobility, and ease of operation in order not to have to rely on others for help with certain tasks. With Universal Design you can achieve this by building in that manner from the start. It will cost a whole lot less if you incorporate this into your floor plans now, rather than a remodel later, for things like wider doorways and pathways for wheelchair accessibility throughout your home.
There are things we need to be thinking about now that are crucial to how we will live in our homes at a certain age, successfully. One of the biggest is doorways and pathways as I mentioned earlier. As we enter the home, the threshold becomes a problem if we end up wheelchair bound. By having a flat entry, there won't be that struggle to get into the door when we arrive. Too, think clearance for both doorways and pathways throughout your home. This is a costly remodel later on if needed. Also be aware of your space planning by not over furnishing. This will allow ease of mobility and less to manage at that age. What a perfect time to downsize. It will feel really good to purge, and keep someone from calling the "Hoarding Police" on you.
One other thing to consider is lighting. Think task and adjustability. This will allow you the freedom to focus the illumination where you need it at any given time. Also, choose lighting that isn't exposed like a naked bulb because it can cause pain or even disorientation within older eyes. Lighting can be a tricky thing so, some experimenting with wattage and lumens might be necessary to find the correct level and strength for you.
Other operational items to be aware of are drawer and door mechanisms throughout the home. Having doors with levers instead of knobs are a good solution for ease of use, especially for those with Arthritis. Too, having shelves that pull out, and towel racks that double as grab bars will allow for more freedom in the bathroom and kitchen. Think about installing a water faucet over the stove for easy pot filling. How about sinks that are wheelchair accessible, and storage that is lowered. What about a shower that has a flat walkin with a slightly slanted floor for drainage. This will allow for dryer floors and less accidents.
I could go on and on but, I bet your attention span is starting to wane right about now, I think mine just did. I certainly don't want to overwhelm you, I just want to get you to start thinking about these things with a little more awareness. Some of this information I found in an article on the subject so, check out the link below for a deeper dive into aging in place. I hope you have found this post useful. If so, please leave a comment below and join the community.