Universal design . . . aging-in-place . . . barrier free design . . . accessible design . . . independent living design . . . homes for life . . . houses for living.
These are all phrases that relate to the design of homes that make independent living possible for all ages, sizes and abilities. It does not have to mean that your home is institutional looking or hospital like, but rather can be luxurious and convenient for all who live there. Thinking ahead and designing features into your new home or remodel/addition will not only allow you to age-in-place without costly modifications down the road, but also means more convenience and safety for everyone living in and visiting your home.
In 2007, Sherri earned the Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) designation. Click here for more information.
Below is a table that lists only some facets of a home that would allow a person to age-in-place, as well as provide convenience and safety for everyone else.
For those aging-in-place
|Zero step entry||Level entry into house for limited ability to navigate steps or for a wheelchair user.||Level entry into house for more convenient moving of furniture in & out; ability to bring the baby/toddler in/out of the house in a stroller, etc.|
|Wider doors & hallways||Allows room for wheelchair to maneuver.||Makes it easier to carry the laundry basket, groceries, furniture, etc. through doors.|
|Lever handled faucets & doors||Makes it easier for arthritic hands to open/close a door or turn the faucet off or on.||Makes it easier for children to open/close doors or turn the faucet on/off. You can open a door or turn on a faucet with your elbow if your hands are full or dirty.|
|Walk-in or roll-in shower||Easier entry into shower if ability to raise leg is limited; allows entry to shower in a wheelchair.||No curb to stub your toe on. More luxurious feel to bathroom.|
|Tub with transfer area||Easier entry into/out of tub if mobility is limited.||Adds a place to set towels or decorative items.|
|Hand held shower head on slide bar||Makes adjustment of shower head easier for wheelchair users or those with limited mobility.||Makes cleaning the shower/tub easier; makes washing the dog or cleaning other items easier. Allows a child to adjust the shower head.|
|Backing for safety bars in bathrooms||Allows safety bars to be installed.||Allows safety bars to be installed at a later date without major disruptive modifications.|
|Better lighting||Allows those with compromised sight to see things more clearly.||Eliminates shadows, adds layers of light for effects & convenience.|
|Rocker light switches||Makes it easier for those with arthritic hands to turn switches on/off.||Switches can be turned on/off with your elbow if you’re carrying a child, groceries, etc.|
|Garage door opener||Allows someone with limited mobility to open/close the garage door.||Allows anyone to open/close the garage door without having to get out in the weather.|
|Remote controlled or programmed drapery operator||Allows someone who is bedridden to control the natural light in their room.||Allows for greater security in that the home looks more “lived in” when the drapes open & close when you are gone for an extended period of time.|
|Front loading washer & dryer||Makes it easier for someone in a wheelchair to do the laundry.||Makes it easier for anyone to do the laundry. Front loaders usually clean clothes better & are more efficient.|
|Pull-out drawers or shelves in kitchen base cabinets||Brings the contents of the drawer or shelf to the user, instead of someone with limited mobility trying to stoop over & get items out from inside the cabinet.||Makes those items that are in the back of the cabinet easier to find – no more searching on your knees with a flashlight.|