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