There are a lot of great reasons for homeowners to plan on aging in place. If you’re remodeling or building a new home, incorporating aging-friendly choices not only allows you to stay in the home you love but can save money in the long run. Assisted living is much more expensive than living in your own home. With thoughtful planning, staying safely in your home longer is not only possible, but can be beautiful! Even if you don’t yet need modifications for aging in your home, planning to include them as you build or remodel, especially in the kitchen, is a smart decision. With a growing demand for design that suits all ages and abilities, making your home safe and accessible for your golden years doesn’t have to look institutional. Here are some of my favorite products for creating an aesthetically beautiful living space you can enjoy for many, many years!
For people with limited mobility or balance issues, the bathroom can be a dangerous place. Grab bars make it easier to get in and out of the tub or shower and are an essential safety item for aging in place. But, they can still be beautiful! Grab bars now come in a wide variety of attractive styles and finished, enhancing the look of the bath rather than detracting from it. The Traditional Decorative Grab Bar from Brizo is a great example:
Thoughtful lighting choices can also make your home safer. ADA compliant lighting is essential for creating an environment that is easy to navigate and maintain. Consider installing motion activated lighting for stairways and lowering light switches so they can easily be reached from a wheelchair. This beautiful Cornwall Wall Sconce from Connecticut Lighting Centers has a narrow profile that will not intrude on a narrow hall or small bath where maximum clearance is important:
Another important feature in a kitchen or bath is counter space that is accessible for anyone, whether they are standing or seated in a wheelchair. This Shaker Americana vanity from Fairmont Designs looks lovely and is easy for just about everyone to use:
When choosing hardware for a remodel, consider options that can be manipulated easily by hands with limited strength or dexterity. Knobs are trickier to mange than levers. For cabinet, interior, and exterior doors, choose lever or blade style handles that are easily moved with a simple wrist motion, such as these latches from Rocky Mountain Hardware:
Negotiating stairs can be difficult and dangerous as we age. Chair lifts are an always an option, but I really love the sleek look of this glass elevator from Visilift. An elevator inside the home (or affixed to the exterior) not only bypasses the fall risk of stairs, but makes it much easier to “carry” things like baskets of laundry, suitcases, or groceries. If the goal is to remain safe and independent in your home, an elevator is a fantastic choice. Not to mention, it looks beautiful!
If you plan to stay in your home rather than relocate as you age, what steps are you taking to make each room accessible and safe?