When building a home that you plan to retire in, it is a good idea to add a few features that will allow you to safely and comfortably live in your house as you begin to age. These features, known as aging-in-place features, don’t need to take away from the beauty and style of your home in any way, They are practical design choices you can make that can help allow you to stay in your home comfortably for years to come! These seven aging-in-place features are recommended by experts to help make your home safe and practical.
1. First Floor Living
Choose a home design that has all of the functional spaces you will need located on the first floor, This is important should an event arise in which you or your family member may not be able to use stairs easily or at all. The living room, kitchen, laundry, bedroom, and bath should ideally all be on the first floor of the home. Ranches and single-story homes such as our Charleston floor plan are perfect for this lifestyle, however, many modern floor plans accommodate first-floor living and also offer multiple stories. Rockford’s first-floor master floor plans are another great option for planning a home that will accommodate you through many stages of your life.
2. Open Concept Floor Plans
Open concept floor plans are perfect for aging-in-place because they offer a lot of open area for navigating from room to room. They tend to have larger entries, halls, and a better flow overall. It’s a good idea to keep the flooring of your new home as consistent throughout as possible to reduce tripping over thresholds or uneven flooring and open concept tends to use consistent flooring throughout. Another benefit of open concept floor plans is they allow more light to flow through the home, providing an additional element of safety for aging bodies.
3. Stairless Entrances
Design at least one entrance of your home so that it is stairless. This means both inside and outside the home. Create an entrance with a gradual incline if needed for easy entry. This will greatly reduce the chance of tripping or falling and provide access for wheelchairs, walkers or those with fragile footing.
4. Lever Style Faucets and Door Knobs
When selecting the finishings of your home, consider the ease of use for years to come. Many people experience arthritis and reduced mobility as they age. Opening doors and cabinets may become more difficult. Lever style faucets and doorknobs are a great choice. They are much easier to use and to grab on to and there are many stylish designs that will add beauty and character to your home.
5. Natural Lighting
A well-lit home can help reduce the risk of falls and injuries. Future vision problems, trouble with balance, and other issues are something to keep in mind. Natural light will help improve overall safety. An added benefit of natural lighting is it can improve your mood and help combat depression. A bright and airy home will keep you happier and safer for years to come.
6. Prepare the Shower
Showers and bathtubs can become dangerous and difficult obstacles as we age. Help protect yourself from injury and prepare by designing a shower with a few added safety features that will blend right in with your design. Modern aging-in-place showers can be just as beautiful and spa-like as any other shower design. Start by installing a curbless shower that you can easily walk in and out of. Upgrade your shower with a handrail and built-in seat right from the start and you will be set for a safer and more comfortable shower at any age.
7. Slip Resistant Floors
Choose your home flooring wisely. Reduce your risk of falling and injury by selecting flooring that is slip-resistant and will soften your fall should one happen. There are many flooring options available today that are both slip-resistant and stylish. Carpet is one obvious choice that is both slip-resistant and better for landing if you were to fall, but there are other great options as well. Cork flooring is naturally slip-resistant and provides some cushion. Non-slip vinyl flooring comes in many colors and varieties that can work well with any decor and it is easy to maintain. Also, keep in mind that area rugs and floor mats can be tripping hazards and something you will want to avoid in your aging-in-place home design.