Building a custom home comes with a wide variety of benefits, including that you can customize your home to ensure you will be able to age in place. Aging in place is a phrase that’s been getting more use lately- in short, it refers to the ability to stay in your own home as you age rather than needing to move to a smaller house or an assisted living facility. When building your own home, it’s easy to make some small decisions that will allow you to keep your independence as you age.
First Floor Bedroom
Perhaps the easiest and most important choices you can make as you build a home with the intention of aging in place is to ensure there is a first-floor bedroom with a full bathroom. As you age, you won’t want to struggle going up and down stairs multiple times a day. If you are building a house early in your life, it’s simple to use this room for other purposes until you need it. Not only could the room be used as an office or family room, but it could also quickly be converted into a guest suite, or even an Airbnb, depending on where you live.
No Step Floor Plan
One of the most significant health risks to people over the age of 65 is falling. With this in mind, the choices you make in flooring can make a huge impact. Not only is it better to use a no-step flooring plan but it’s also a good idea to stick with one flooring throughout your home. Often, transition points between flooring types have an edge or lip that can become a tripping hazard. Additionally, choosing entrances that don’t use steps can ensure your home stays accessible.
There are a variety of ways you can alter your doors to make them better for long-term use. To start, ensure that all door frames (and hallways) are wider than average. This ensures that if anyone in the home requires a walker or wheelchair, they will be able to navigate easily. Door handles can also be a simple, yet important choice. For example, using a lever handle as opposed to a knob will allow for more comfortable use by those with arthritis. Lastly, pocket doors are a better choice than swinging doors, as they are easier to use for those with arthritis or those who require a walker or wheelchair.
Grab Bars and Guardrails
To prevent falls, adding in secure and substantial guardrails can be essential. These should be placed in several locations throughout the home including bathrooms, any stairs, and entrances.
Along with grab bars, walk-in bathtubs and showers are essential for preventing injury and keeping your home accessible. Walk-in showers are common and beautiful, and it’s likely that no one viewing your home would consider that it was planned for accessibility. Make sure that the entrance to the shower is wide, and if possible that there is no lip to the entrance.