Many of us would like to stay in our current homes throughout our lives. Or, as our generations are living longer, we may be housing elderly relatives or helping them stay independent in their own homes.
And this can mean making some modifications and adjustments. While many new designs in buildings already incorporate these, some older buildings need renovation. In the UK, this is known as ‘ageing in place’ while in the States it’s generally referred to as ‘universal design’.
What does this mean?
Essentially, it means buildings that are accessible to everyone. And while this concept is often associated with disability and retirement – because of how it accommodates the challenges of ageing and mobility – it’s also appealing to people of all ages and abilities.
If you think your home needs to be modified for your own future use, or you have elderly parents or relatives then there are a few things you might want to consider.
Mobility can be a challenge for people of all ages, and the standards of ageing in place address this in various ways. Doorways, halls, and rooms need to have a minimum amount of space that allows plenty of room for wheelchairs, crutches, and scooters.
Freestanding sinks allow for wheelchairs to roll beneath for full access. Light switches and outlets should be at a height that can be used with ease. Kitchen counters can be lowered to make them accessible and offer an easy reach – for toddlers as well as for those in wheelchairs. These sorts of modifications make the home usable for simple everyday things that many of us can take for granted.
Tall or short, walking or not, everyone benefits.
Homes come with all various necessities like toilets and storage space, but how can we improve on these?
A combination of natural illumination and bright, ambient lighting eases the strain on eyes for everyone within the home. Beautifully polished metal grab bars offer a lift to anyone needing it, and they even serve as shelving, towel racks, and toilet paper holders that seamlessly blend into your bathroom. Like your kitchen counters, lower sinks are more easily accessible. Low-barrier showers and walk-in tubs make for safer and easier bathing, while bathing benches offer a seat that doubles as a shelf for bathroom products. Kitchen cupboards include, or are replaced by, roll-out drawers that mean no more climbing or digging around for what you need.
These simple things do an excellent job of addressing the needs of age and mobility, but they can also be used for other purposes. These features are so appealing because they’re lovely fixtures that are highly functional. While no one at home may currently need them, the aids will be ready and waiting for guests, sick days, and the senior years.
Whether you plan on spending your golden years in your current home or you intend to move somewhere else, these features are going to increase the value of your home. Appliances and fixtures are quality products that make things more accessible for people of all ages and sizes. Because of this, homes are just as appealing and comfortable as they are age friendly. Functional, well-designed homes will always call out to buyers, so they’ll have big value on the housing market.
Whether you have ageing family, small children, or you’re just looking to remodel, ageing in place or universal design will make life at home simpler and easier.