db91f75d0176691b_4654-w422-h420-b0-p0---Aging in Place refers to your ability to stay in your existing home as you age or modify another home so that you can age in place there. Studies show that most people are requesting to stay in their home and communities as they age. Over 30% of the population will be 65 or older by 2020, 1 out of 4 Americans.

Home modifications can be accomplished by using the Principals of Universal Design.  Universal Design (UD) emphasizes “the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation of specialized design.”  Modifying a home for Aging in Place allows not only seniors to live in their home longer, but young adults can share the home with their parents, children can benefit too, but it also allows the home “visitability” which means if you have someone with special needs they can enter the home to visit the occupants. This could be something as simple as allowing a parent to visit the home in a wheelchair or use a first floor bathroom. So how do we modify a home so that seniors can live there safely and comfortably? Try these modifications.

  • Good Lighting at entrances, try a motion sensor light; doors should be 36” wide
  • Use rocker switches, the universal reach range is 15”-48”
  • Place 3 way lighting at stairs and hallways
  • Lever handles on doors, a handrail can be added at 34-38” in height
  • Increase the size of doorways if possible, minimum 32-36” wide. There are hinges designed to swing an interior door open for a wider opening, i.e.: in a bathroom
  • If possible plan for at least the first floor bathroom to be accessible
  • Use blocking in the walls for the addition of grab bars later
  • At kitchens and bathroom sinks use single handle lever handles, consider automatic on/off faucets
  • Use anti scald faucets;  hand held shower head on a vertical bar
  • Arrange cabinet heights for access, 24-36” off floor
  • Place the cooktop knobs to the side so you don’t reach across the heat
  • Side by side refrigerators are easy to enter
  • In bathrooms use nonslip surfaces, do not use throw rugs
  • Use contrast in texture or color in surfaces when remodeling
  • Use devices that are tactile and auditory, that are intuitive to use
  • Plan for safety, the most dangerous place in the home is the bathroom where falls occur frequently

Certified Aging in Place Specialists can help you modify your spaces for safety. Call if you need a home audit done of your existing spaces.