Preparing to Age in Place
People are living longer than ever before. So how do we prepare for the difficulties that advancing age brings? Like most things, the answer is careful and considerate planning. A great age-in-place plan will cover anything that affects your quality of life, from living arrangements to finances to transportation and your sense of community. But this plan needs to be adaptable, as both your abilities and your situation can change over a time.
But one of the biggest pieces of the aging-in-place puzzle will undoubtedly be your home. Here are a few things to consider as you build a home that will allow you to live out your golden years in independence and comfort.
Choosing a Home You can Keep Forever
First things first, decide from the outset whether you want a multi-story home or a single-floor layout. Determining how you will get around as mobility issues affect you will be central to many of your decisions. If you need the extra space of a multi-level home, consider how you want to grow over time. A second-floor master suite may be fine in the early stages, but later in life you may need your primary living space to be on the first floor. If you are really cemented to the idea of keeping your master suite on the second floor, then you need to consider things like how to handle the stairs in years to come. Will you build a staircase that can later be converted to an elevator? If not, then make sure your staircase is wide enough to accommodate a stair lift, or other assisted device down the line. Choose handrails constructed from solid materials.
Retrofitting Your Home in Later Years
You should also consider making home design choices that can be updated later to keep up with the changes that happen in your life. How easy will it be to install modifications that assist you in your daily living? Can you easily install handrails and slip-resistant flooring in your bathrooms when they become necessary? What about grab rails for toilets and showers?
Another item to consider is your kitchen layout. Can you easily reach cabinets and appliances without the assistance of a step-ladder?
Door handles are something you might also want to choose carefully. Can you easily reach and open door handles? A good suggestion is lever-handled doorknobs that can be easily opened if factors like arthritis come into play.
Good lighting should be installed throughout the house, to prevent injuries as eyesight becomes an issue. And make sure you can reach your garage or parking area easily, and that there aren’t a lot of stairs or curbs involved.
Home maintenance is another topic that will need solid planning over time. Sturdy building materials that don’t require a lot of care or cleaning are also a good idea—like brick or vinyl exteriors. You should also plan for items like lawncare and landscaping. Choose plants or shrubs that don’t require a lot of upkeep. And if you can afford it, find a trusted service to handle those items for you.
A full age-in-place plan is holistic and covers all your bases—long before you need to use it. Brookstone Homes is fully certified in Aging-in-Place Design and can plan for details exclusive to this preparation—like zero-entry showers and bathtubs. We would love to be your trusted partner in building a home you can keep forever. Contact us today to find out how we can help!