New Home Design - Aging in Place or “Transitional Living” Considerations for Future Accessibility

May 15, 2024 by
New Home Design - Aging in Place or “Transitional Living” Considerations for Future Accessibility
Architectural Overflow, LLC, Lee Buescher

As we grow older, our homes need to evolve to meet our changing needs. The concept of "aging in place" or "transitional living" is about making thoughtful design decisions in your home today to ensure comfort, safety, and accessibility in the future. For builders, developers, architects, and homeowners, this means integrating universal design principles and home modifications that support mobility solutions and accessibility. Here are some practical tips and considerations to create a barrier-free, accessible home.

Framing for Future Grab Bars

One of the simplest yet most effective measures in aging in place is planning for future grab bar installations. Adding blocking to walls during framing ensures that the structure can support grab bars in critical areas like bathrooms and stairways. This preemptive step saves time and money down the line, providing sturdy support for individuals who may need extra stability.

Appliance and Plumbing Fixture Placement for Ease of Reach

Ease of access to appliances and plumbing fixtures is crucial for an accessible home. Placing kitchen appliances like microwaves and ovens at counter height reduces the need for bending or reaching. Similarly, bathroom fixtures should be positioned within easy reach, allowing for comfortable use by individuals with limited mobility.

Larger Doors for Rooms and Pathways

Wide doorways are essential for creating an accessible home. Installing 36 inch doors throughout the house ensures that doorways can accommodate wheelchairs, scooters and walkers, making navigation easier for everyone. This simple modification also provides a more open and spacious feel to the home design.

Plans for Potential Future Elevator Installation

For homes with multiple stories, planning for a future elevator installation can be a game-changer. Designate a closet or small room that can later be converted into an elevator shaft. This foresight allows homeowners to adapt their space as their mobility needs change without requiring extensive renovations.

Wide Staircases to Accommodate Chair Lifts

Wide staircases not only enhance the aesthetic appeal of a home but also provide the necessary space for installing chair lifts. Chair lift stairs are an excellent mobility solution for multi-story homes, ensuring that all areas of the home remain accessible regardless of physical limitations.

Proper Counter and Cabinetry Heights for Ease of Use

Kitchen accessibility is a key aspect of universal design. Counters and cabinets should be installed at heights that are comfortable for both standing and seated use. Adjustable-height counters and pull-out shelving can further enhance usability, making everyday tasks easier for everyone.

Curbless Showers

Curbless showers are a hallmark of barrier-free living. By eliminating a step up into the shower, you reduce the risk of trips and falls, making the bathroom safer for individuals with mobility issues. These showers also offer a sleek and modern look, appealing to all ages.

Wider Hallways for Easy Mobility

Wide hallways facilitate easy movement throughout the home. Aim for hallways that are at least 36 inches wide to accommodate wheelchairs, walkers, and other mobility aids. Wider hallways also contribute to a more open and inviting home design.

Creating a home that supports aging in place or transitional living involves thoughtful planning and design. By incorporating these considerations, builders, developers, and architects can ensure that homes remain functional, safe, and comfortable for residents as they age. From blocking for grab bars and creating wider doorways to appliance placement and curbless showers, these modifications not only enhance accessibility but also contribute to a universal design that benefits everyone and could even increase the value of the home.

Whether you’re building a new home or remodeling an existing one, keep these tips in mind to create a space that adapts to the needs of its occupants over time. By planning for the future, we can ensure that our homes continue to be a haven of comfort and independence for years to come.

For more information contact Architectural Overflow, the experts for designing homes for Transitional Living at (866) 772-1616.

For more information and resources, consult organizations like the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the American Institute of Architects (AIA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These sources offer valuable insights and guidelines for creating accessible and universally designed homes.

New Home Design - Aging in Place or “Transitional Living” Considerations for Future Accessibility
Architectural Overflow, LLC, Lee Buescher May 15, 2024
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