Building a new home or large addition is fun to think about for those dreaming of taking on a construction project. Thoughts of open spaces, detailed trim and luxurious kitchens and baths often dominate the initial plans. In this, most fail to think about the practical needs that will likely arise for the “Aging-in-Place” building trend that is happening today.
“Aging-in Place” refers to the planned modifications needed to stay in one’s home for as long as possible, even with the physical challenges brought on by aging or disease. Conditions like Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s and other debilitating diseases limit many people as they get older.
Vendors today make dishwashers, ovens and cabinets with doors that swing open to the side, allowing access, especially from wheelchairs and walkers.
Most of the planning needs to be around space and access. The plan is to have a five-foot radius to accommodate a wheelchair. This is the rule of thumb when designing doorways, halls, bathrooms and other single-level living spaces. Cost can be controlled by making the changes to the basic areas where the physically-challenged person will spend most of their time. Making an entire home accessible, adds more cost because of the additional square footage needed. It is best to focus on the master bedroom, master bath, kitchen and laundry areas.
Other components of a well-equipped home include motion sensor faucets and lights; level entry ways; ramps; lever-style door handles; non-slip flooring; and well-located storage for easy reach.