Strategically Planning for Aging-in-Place

No one likes to admit it, but we’re all getting older.  Aging in Place once gave us images of institutional-like areas completely lacking in style.  In the last few years that has dramatically changed.  Both designers and homeowners alike are recognizing the value of making your home more comfortable for anyone who has mobility limitations.

Preparing to make your home more comfortable for those with mobility issues is wise for anyone, no matter what age they are.  We all know or have people to our homes who are struggling with steps, grabbing handles, or getting through narrow hallways due to an injury, surgery or long term health issue. The best time to address these things is not when you are in crisis mode, but rather when you have time to plan and prepare.  While no one can know what things may be most beneficial in the future, we’ve created a list of some things that you may want to strategically include in your next remodeling project.

Whole home ideas:                                    

Additional lighting
Raising specific electrical outlets and lowering light switches to no higher than 4 ft. using rocker switches
Exterior and interior materials that are low maintenance
Lever type handles on doors
Flush transitions between flooring
Space to maneuver walkers or wheelchairs
36” doorways
Low threshold entryways
Pocket doors or wall mounted doors
Non glare surfaces with contrasting colors to help with visibility
No slip flooring
Lever or touch activated faucets
Accessible bathing and laundry facilities

Stairways and Hallways:

Railings on both sides of stairs
Increasing the size of the treads
Space for a future elevator shaft or chair lift

Kitchen specific:

Easy to grip handles for cabinets
Storage that is easily accessible like roll out shelves, lazy susans or pull down shelving
Lowered countertop area for seated meal preparation


Comfort height toilets
Low threshold shower
Grab bars or blocking for grab bars
Adjustable placement shower heads and accessible controls
Sinks with open knee space

One of the most exciting things is that manufactures are seeing the need for fixtures that function for those with mobility issues.  They are now partnering with Health Care Professionals to create not only functional, but also beautiful fixtures that can meet peoples’ needs.  If you are looking to strategically plan for a parent or yourself, contact us here.  Aaron, our Certified Aging in Place architectural designer, can help you create spaces that will meet your family’s needs for years to come.