Aging in Place is an often-heard term that refers to people being able to live comfortably in their home for as long as possible. After all, you don’t want to outgrow your biggest investment. With proper planning when remodeling your forever home, you can begin to think of these modifications before they are needed.
Here are six important (and easy) design elements you should consider for whatever stage you are at in life, and before you do any type of remodeling in your forever home.
1. Motorized Window Treatments
Motorized window coverings can help make anyone’s life easier. With the touch of a button you can open or close your blinds, shades, or drapery. This is important when you might have a hard time using cords or are unable to reach the window.
Additionally, motorized window coverings add greater functionality by allowing you the ability to shut all the shades at one time or program them to open/close with the rising or setting sun, therefore cutting costs on energy bills.
2. Easily Operable Windows
Windows that open in the up/down direction are much more difficult to use when mobility decreases. When you are considering installing new windows, look for windows that either open inward/outward or windows that slide back and forth. Turning a crank on a casement window is much simpler to operate. Pushing a window to the side such as with sliding windows is also much easier.
3. Deep Base Cabinet Drawers
Most kitchens have a row of upper cabinets that are 12” deep and a row of base cabinets that are 24” deep. The lower cabinets will often have one shallow drawer and two doors with shelves inside. This is difficult to access and a poor use of kitchen space.
We typically design all our kitchens with deep base cabinet drawers, which are perfect for storing dishes and pots/pans. Cabinet drawers are easier to organize because you can see everything you have in them (no more lost pot lids in the deep dark recesses of your cabinet). This is especially important for those who can’t bend down to reach inside the cabinets to the back of their shelves.
4. Walk-in Showers
The advantages of walk-in showers are numerous. For anyone with mobility issues, stepping over the side of a bathtub into the shower is difficult, or even impossible. This is important as you age, but also think if you (or your teenager) breaks a leg? With a walk-in shower, you’ll have a shower that is accessible, whatever the reason.
Design-wise, walk-in showers are much more flexible because you don’t have to sectionalize your bathroom with a walled-in shower and curb. Additionally, it is much cleaner and allows for a more harmonious look because you can use the same floor tiles straight into the shower. A grab bar is also a nice touch, as it allows for support and can be used to hang towels or washcloths.
5. Soft Flooring for the Feet and Back
If you’ve followed my blog posts for any amount of time, you know how we always install Luxury Vinyl Planks (LVP) in our remodels. We started this practice about 8 years ago and homeowners thought we were crazy. However, those that trusted our expertise have not regretted it and now LVP is all the craze.
This type of flooring has a cork underlayment, a bamboo composite center, and a vinyl top that mimics wood (seriously, you can’t tell the difference). The great thing about this type of flooring is that it is soft.
Imagine falling on a ceramic tile floor as opposed to falling on softer vinyl floor. Injuries are likely to be less severe on a softer surface. Also, standing on a hard surface is painful for those with softer bones. LVP is much easier on your feet, joints, back, and body overall.
6. Lever Style Door Handles
One of the simplest and highest returns on investment for increasing your home’s functionality is changing out your round doorknobs for levered door handles. Round doorknobs are difficult to grip for someone with arthritic hands. Levered door handles require a less firm grip and can even be opened with an elbow or hip.
Your Beautiful Forever Home
Yes, the thought of grab bars in your shower might not sound appealing. But please keep in mind that functional design does NOT mean it can’t be aesthetically pleasing and beautiful as well.
With so many seniors wanting to stay in their homes rather than moving to assisted living facilities or nursing homes, there is an ever-increasing need for accessible homes. Start now and be prepared to stay in your forever home – forever!
You can also take advantage of having an experienced person on our team help you with any or all of these things. We are passionate about creating forever homes and making your life better now and long into the future!
Ready for a home that’s as beautiful as the people in it? We’d love to help. Let’s talk!
Until next time,
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