Aging In Place By Design-According to LiLu
By Lisa Peck, ASID
Aging in place by design is an approach to thinking about your home as a place you will live while you are young, like now, and as you age! Not everyone likes to think about aging and the associated issues but even the youngest among us might benefit from designing a home using aging in place principles.
Designing a home or remodel as a place to age is a sustainable idea both for the environment and for your financial sustainability. Here are some key issues to consider for a remodel or construction project with an aging in place focus.
One Level Living
A very basic principle of aging in place by design is to have all necessary daily living spaces on one level. Kitchen, bathroom, sitting room, sleeping room, and laundry room on one level so if you are faced with mobility issues as you age, stairs will not prevent you from continuing to be able to perform daily tasks.
You may be thinking, I’ll be 90 before I have mobility issues! And that may be true. However, I’ve had clients have temporary mobility issues at young and middle ages. A ski accident, a slip in the shower, and the need to have joint replacement surgery from a sport’s injury are just some of the things my younger clients have faced. While each injury only involved a few weeks of challenges, having one level living in place made this time in their lives easier to manage.
If you are working on designing a new construction home or a major remodel keep one-level living in mind. If you currently have the bedrooms in your home on a separate floor take a look around the main level for a room that might be converted to a bedroom.
Planning for a caregiver
As living in an assisted living facility becomes more and more expensive you may want to consider how that stacks up against staying in your home as long as possible. You may have a relative or paid caregiver who would move in to facilitate this possibility. Think of a separate floor of your home or area that could accommodate a caregiver and give you both some privacy.
Putting in plumbing for a kitchenette or planning a way to divide living space to preserve your independence.
Separate spaces can also accommodate other life events and needs. A live in nanny, boomerang child or aging parent can use this space now and a caregiver later.
Easy of operation
Making choices within your home that focus on lighting, plumbing, fittings and appliances being easy to operate will bring simplicity to your daily life now and increase the likelihood that you will find your home comfortable and easy to live in as you age.
Basic considerations are single control faucets, lever door hardware and programmable or easily adjustable lighting. As you age, hand grip strength and vision can be effected. And bonus things that are easy for aging adults to operate are also easier for children to operate. Even if you have young children now, planning your home or remodel for aging in place makes sense. Even if you don’t stay in your home forever, having a home that is sustainable in this way adds value to your property.