checklist

An Aging-In-Place Home Design Checklist

Here’s the good news. If you choose to remain in your home as you age, there are ways to modify your house. 

EXTERIOR

  • Ensure exterior is low maintenance, choosing vinyl and brick versus painted wood for siding, and shrubs and plants that don’t require frequent upkeep. 
  • Ensure deck, patio and balcony surfaces are no more than a half an inch below the interior floor level if made of wood. 

OVERALL FLOOR PLAN

  • If building a new home, consider keeping the main living areas on a single story, with a full bath. 
  • Ensure there is a 5-foot by 5-foot turning space in the living area, kitchen, bedroom and a bathroom. 
  • Where possible build or enlarge hallways to a minimum width of 36 inches. 
  • Add handrails on both sides of the stairway. 

KITCHEN AND BATHROOM

  • Install lever handles or pedal controlled faucets with thermostatic or anti-scald controls. 
  • Install upper wall cabinetry 3 inches lower than conventional height. 
  • Add accented stripes on edge of countertops to provide visual orientation to the workspace. 
  • Consider glass front cabinet doors or open shelving for easy access to frequently used items. 
  • Add roll out trays to base cabinets. 
  • Consider a side-by-side refrigerator. 
  • Consider front controls and downdraft to pull heat away from user.  
  • Install a light in the shower stall. 
  • Select toilet paper holders that are designed to change roll with one hand. 
  • Utilize adjustable handheld showerheads with a 6 foot hose.  

ENTRYWAY

  • Where possible, ensure there is at least one no-step entryway to the home. 
  • Install a sensor light at the exterior door most often used – and the one with the no-step entry – that shines on the front door lock and keyhole. 
  • Ensure entry doors have 32 inches of clear width, which requires a 36-inch door.  Consider doors with sidelights or a low peep hole viewer.

THRESHOLDS

  • Build flush thresholds where possible. For exterior thresholds, aim for a maximum of a half-inch beveled and a maximum of a quarter-inch beveled for interior.

INTERIOR DOORS AND WINDOWS

  • Install levered door hardware, instead of knobs. 
  • Ensure there is 32 inches of clear width to pass through, which requires a 36-inch door. 

CLOSETS

  • Add additional lighting where needed.
  • Install easy-to-open doors that do not obstruct access to contents inside. 
  • Consider adjustable closet rods and shelves.