Few of you, likely none of you, want to talk about aging, particularly when it means you may not be as energetic as you used to be, you may have limited mobility, or problems getting around and reaching things. The truth is we’re all aging, and many of you will face either needing a home which can support your aging lifestyle or shelling out the big bucks for a nursing home or assisted living facility.
With the sheer amount of baby boomers in our population who are entering retirement age, accessible living is becoming big business. This is a positive change! It means accessible living products have much more flair than past years products, such as designer grab bars in bronze or brushed nickel finishes with detailing similar as what you find on towel bars.
Accessible living doesn’t have to look institutional, or out of place. Many features such as curbless or oversized showers, low shelving and improved lighting are just as relevant for the able-bodied as well as for the elderly. In the case of grab bars, they are multipurpose: your family can use them now if you have young children or even if you have an injury (throwing out your back, etc.), and you can use them when you’re older as well.
The elderly, or even younger homeowners, often don’t want to spend the money on such changes, but again imagine what you’ll pay for a nursing home/assisted living facility instead.
Here’s some changes we recommend to make your home livable for many years to come:
- Move the washer and dryer to the main level.
- Install pocket doors or wider doors so if you’re in a wheelchair or use a walker, you don’t have to maneuver around swinging doors.
- Upgrade to better lighting options both on the interior and the exterior.
- Install a zero-step entrance outdoors.
- Install handrails on steps, both indoors and outdoors.
- Install lever handles on faucets, as well as doors and windows.
- Choose a cooktop with front controls.
- Install a curbless shower with grab bars, and a handheld showerhead.
- Choose products which offer remotes, such as remote-controlled window shades.
- Install shelves so you can reach into them when standing, without needing to use a stool or ladder.
If you’re building, J. Thompson Builders can offer homes with accessible design. Some of our past projects which incorporate accessible living design include the Country Living Plan and the Tulip Tree Lane Plan.
We also recommend reading the following books:
AARP Guide to Revitalizing Your Home: Beautiful Living for the Second Half of Life »
Knack Universal Design: A Step-by-Step Guide to Modifying Your Home for Comfortable, Accessible Living »
Residential Design for Aging in Place »
Universal Design for the Home: Great-looking, Great-living Design for All Ages, Abilities, and Circumstances »