If you're like most people who intend on aging in place, you naturally want to do so in an environment that's as comfortable and secure as possible — and if the time has come to downsize from your current home, you're probably looking for a property that has the features designed to help older adults maintain their independence and continue to live comfortably in their own space. Even if you don't need the following features at present, including them in a custom-built home will help ensure your safety, comfort, and convenience while enjoying your retirement years.
A single-story home eliminates the need for stairs and steps, which can be difficult for older adults to navigate. It's also a good idea to minimize or even eliminate outdoor steps as well, especially if your new home is situated in a location that receives seasonal ice and snow.
Wide Doorways and Hallways
These allow for easy movement of wheelchairs or walkers. Even if you don't need these features now, they may come in handy for you and/or your spouse at some future point.
Along with kitchens, bathrooms present significant safety risks for seniors and should be equipped with an in-room emergency alarm system. Other safety features include grab bars, walk-in showers, and raised toilet seats. A mat placed in the shower or bathtub can reduce the risk of slipping and falling, and a bench in the shower can provide a place to sit and rest while bathing.
Lever Door Handles
Lever handles can be operated with the palm of the hand or a closed fist, which can be helpful for seniors with arthritis or other conditions that affect their grip strength. Additionally, lever handles do not require a tight grip to turn, making it easier for seniors to open and close doors.
Adequate lighting throughout the home can help prevent falls and improve visibility. Although targeted spotlighting is important in some areas, such as directly over the range and food preparation areas in the kitchen, strong ambient lighting is an essential safety feature in other parts of the home because it eliminates shadows. Strong ambient lighting can also enhance the visibility of emergency exits, important buttons and controls, and other safety features such as smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, etc.
Smart Home Technology
Automation of lighting, HVAC, and other systems can be integrated with sensors and voice commands, which can make it even easier for seniors to control these systems, even if they have difficulty with manual controls.
Ask a custom home builder for more information on designing a home to promote comfort and safety for those aging in place.