Remodeling to Age in Place [Bonus: Home Accessibility Checklist]
Whether you plan to live your retirement years in your own home, you expect to have parents or in-laws living with you, or you are merely hoping to up your home’s value for eventual resale, implementing an Atlanta home design conducive to aging in place is a project you should undertake before the need is upon you.
The Advantages of Aging in Place Renovations
According to AIA’s Home Design Trends Survey, the demand for multi-generational living accommodations and aging in place installations continue to rise. As Remodeling reports, features like ramp entryways, elevators, wider doorways, and first-floor master bedrooms have been among the top five most sought-after home design implementations over the past four years, and demand is only predicted to increase.
Knowing Which Trends are Right for You
As these numbers indicate, prepping your home for aging in place is a safe investment both in terms of monetary and lifestyle gains. Of all the popular accommodation suggestions available, however, how do you determine what’s right for you and your family? For example, if you’re already settled in a two-story home, should you relocate to a ranch? Not necessarily—in fact, your second-story accommodations might be perfect for a live-in caregiver.
So how do you know what’s right for you? Understand that there are generally two types of aging in place recommendations: those that apply to everyone and those you’ll need to customize to fit your own home and needs.
Features to Consider for Aging in Place
There are some life circumstances you don’t want to find yourself in without preparation, and aging in place is one of them. Whether you’re moving into retirement, conducting a whole-home remodel of your forever home, or assisting aging parents, knowing how to equip your home with features that will enable you and your loved ones to comfortably age in place is imperative. Some of these changes require more planning than others. Here’s our checklist.
- The Garage: Make sure you equip your Atlanta, GA, home with a garage that leads directly to your main floor living area. You won’t want to have to make the slippery trek from your car to your front door in winter.
- Inside the Garage: Preferably, the door between your garage and main living area will not be subject to a level change. If it is, construct a large enough garage that you have room to install a gently-sloped ramp to your door.
- Main Entrance: For your main home entrance, avoid steps leading to your door if possible. Build the doorway itself so that it is zero-threshold.
- The Main Floor: One the most vital overall indoor arrangement decisions you can make is locating all necessities on the same level—the main floor. These necessities include your bedroom, a full bathroom, a living room, you kitchen, and you laundry room. It’s best to remove any level changes such as steps and thresholds.
- Handrails: Wherever you’re unable to eliminate steps, such as hallways descending to the basement or ascending to a second floor, install stable handrails. It’s also advisable to place handrails near seats, such as your toilet.
- Non-Slip Floors: Next, make sure these rooms are not laid with high-gloss floors. Carpet is a good choice if the pile is compact rather than raised.
- Clearance: All rooms should have ample space to turn around in or navigate with a wheelchair. Doors should be a minimum of 36 inches and hallways 32 inches. Your bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, living room, and laundry room should all have 5-by-5-foot open areas.
- Lighting: High visibility is essential. Install ample lighting throughout your home and place light switches in accessible areas immediately within entrances to each room. Motion-sensored lighting is also a wonderful idea for areas like bathrooms that you may want to access during the night.
Individual Room Changes
- Kitchen: As you design your kitchen, think about how to make every storage area easily accessible for aging in place. Lazy Susans, pull-down upper cabinets, and pull-out lower cabinets are all wonderful starting points. View Hafele’s kitchen hardware offerings for inspiration.
- Laundry Room: For every appliance you purchase, consider its ease of operation. In laundry rooms particularly, washing and drying machines that are front-loading increase ease tremendously.
- Bathroom: Equip your bathroom with a zero-threshold, walk-in shower with a pull-down seat and plenty of room. Install slip-resistant flooring both inside and outside your shower. Taller toilets are also recommended.
- Care Giver Quarters: Finally, if you have the space, design an area of your home or build a home addition to accommodate a live-in caregiver. While you may not need assistance immediately, it’s smart to prepare an area for a relative or other caregiver to live comfortably alongside you.
[Read More: Remodeling Your Ranch Home]
Recommendations that Apply to Everyone
Recommendations that are helpful to everyone include installations like zero-threshold, walk-in showers, non-slip and non-graduated flooring, ample lighting, handrails by stairs, and covered entryways. In general, any Atlanta home design that is considered a universal design will be applicable to your home. Most often, universal design focuses on opening spaces to avoid cramped doorways, bathrooms, kitchens, hallways, etc., to enable every sector of the population to comfortably access all areas.
Recommendations that Should be Customized
Recommendations that you’ll need to evaluate and customize for your own circumstances include anything that requires a major lifestyle change or monetary investment. Consider your personal health concerns and lifestyle goals, and adapt popular suggestions accordingly to achieve comfort and ease in your Atlanta, GA, home.
BONUS: Home Accessibility Checklist
How To Make A Home More Accessible for Aging Loved Ones presented by Transitions Lift & Elevator