What is Aging in Place you might ask? The CDC defines it as, "the ability to live in one's own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level." So this topic is not limited to your great great grandmother, but rather anyone who wants the house they live in now to be their lifetime home. From an Interior Designer's standpoint, it is making sure that the design being implemented right now will still be functional and beautiful 20 or 30 years from now. Not to say that things cannot be switched up, but the real bones of the structure should be able to carry your home into the next decade and the next. If you are going to go to all the trouble of a house remodel, then why not make sure that this is a design that can stand the test of time.
Some structural things to think about are putting in reinforcements where future grab bars can be installed, for example around toilets and showers/baths. Making doorways wide enough to accommodate walkers or wheelchairs will not impact the look of your current design, but may allow you to enjoy it much longer. Creating custom counter heights is another great idea to get the most out of your home. An Interior Designer or CAPS (Certified Aging in Place Specialist) can offer many suggestions about a specific space and can come up with a plan to design with aging in place goals in mind.
It is never too early to think about aging in place, in fact the earlier the better. This week is National Aging in Place week and we at Donna DuFresne Design felt like this would be the perfect time to introduce a project that was recently completed where aging in place played a big factor.
This recent project was for a client in their 50's who is over 6' tall and looking for this house to be their home for as long as possible. Here are some of the things that were carried out during the design process that addressed aging in place:
-Reinforcements in the walls for the placement of future grab bars
-Seats in the shower for comfort and usability
-An infinity drain so that the shower required no barrier
-Wider doorways for the possibility of future mobility issues
-Slip-resistant flooring in the bathroom
-Increased lighting put on dimmers to account for a decrease in eyesight
-Custom counter heights for ease of current and future use
You would never guess from the pictures that this project was designed with an aging in place mindset.