We’re getting old. Did you know that in less than twenty years, one in 5 people will be over the age of 65 years old in America? But, as we’re getting older, we’re also living longer and healthier lives. So, does this mean that there will be mass migration from homes to care facilities? Hey now, not so fast.

A recent survey from AARP found that 90% of people surveyed planned to remain in their homes as they age. This begs one serious question. As people are preparing to stay in their homes, are homes preparing for people? We mean that as they plan to age in place and with more homeowners planning to stay put, the concept of universal design in the home, is taking center stage.

What Is Universal Design?

Also known as barrier-free design, universal design is about creating a home environment that is safe and accessible for everyone, regardless of age, physical ability, or stature. So, when you think of remaining in your home as you age, what does that look like? For many, it looks like grab bars and ramps, or simply anything that makes the house more accessible. On the contrary, there is so much more than meets the eye when thinking universal design for your home and quite frankly, varying reasons why homeowners are choosing the universal design route as they age.

But first, let’s find out what aging in place really means and how it might affect you.

What Does Aging In Place Mean?

Aging in place is a term which is defined as the act of remaining in one’s home or community as they get older, rather than moving in with family or entering a nursing home or assisted living facility.

How Will Aging In Place Affect You?

Whether you plan to remain in your home or perhaps a parent, grandparent or loved one, how will aging in place affect you? For family and caretakers alike, everyone should give consideration as to how this will impact your life and those you cherish. With this, there are a handful of reasons homeowners 55 and above are planning to ensure their home is more universally designed and ready for them to age in place.

If you are looking for a place to start related to what considerations need to be made to ensure your home is ready, here are 4 reasons homeowners that are 55 and above are remodeling their homes.

Reasons Homeowners 55+ Are Remodeling

Improve Accessibility
Improve Aesthetic
Improve Safety
Improve Ease of Living

How would you prioritize this list? In taking an inventory of your home or the home of a loved one, what areas of the home need improvements in these key areas?

As you consider the needs of your home, there really is more than meets the eye, isn’t there? Of these 4 reasons, why homeowners that are aged 55 and above were remodeling their homes, let’s drill down further and get into more specifics as to how you can prepare your home so you can age in place with peace.

Is Your Home Ready To Age In Place?

Within the home, there are two spaces at the top of many lists for ensuring a home is ready to age in place. Those two spaces are the bathroom and kitchen. Here are some things to consider when planning your next project for both these spaces:

Bathroom

In the bathroom, before we talk aesthetics, let’s talk accessibility, safety, and ease of living. Designing your bathroom for these three key considerations is crucial. For certain, how is the bathroom designed so that you can best prevent falls? And, is it accessible to various mobility issues? Ensuring the entryway is at least 32 inches wide will allow for better access. Also, installing a curbless walk-in shower will also make the shower much more accessible.

Kitchen

The kitchen is a favorite place for home renovation investment. Increasingly, this is where the family and friends gather most. How is your kitchen not only ready to entertain, but practically designed for you to age in place? When considering projects for your kitchen to ensure a more universal design, you’ll want to look at countertop height as well as making storage more accessible with pull out shelves and even open shelving.

Also, how is the lighting in your kitchen?

Thinking ahead, what about arthritis? If this is in you or a loved one’s future, you might want to consider using pulls instead of knobs on the cabinets and drawers. It’s the little things that can make all the difference later in life. So consider even the smallest changes that make accessibility and easy living important.

And as we have discussed previously, what can really make the kitchen come together, is of course the flooring. In looking at kitchen flooring options through our 4 lenses of accessibility, aesthetic, safety and ease of living, what are some of the options for kitchen flooring for when designing to age in place?

Non-Slip Vinyl Flooring

non-slip LVT Flooring - Universal DesignIf safety is a priority, installing a non-slip luxury vinyl floor is a safe bet. For certain, it’s easy to clean and maintain and can be found in a myriad of colors and patterns. Yet you will not have to sacrifice on color, style and over aesthetics with this safer option. All of the wood species, surface designs and finishes are replicated with LVT flooring, so consider this as a real solution in your design.

Hardwood Flooring

Solid Wood Flooring - Universal DesignIf aesthetics and composition ranks higher than safety, then hardwood floor for the kitchen is a great choice for its durable nature that will stand up over time. Whether a walker, or wheelchair or a holiday family gathering, hardwood adds a warm feel to any home. However, in certain circumstances it can be slippery underfoot, so in a busy kitchen, this could be something to think about.

Getting your home ready to age in place doesn’t need to happen overnight, but just taking some time to plan and prepare is a great place to start.

When Do You Want To Start?

Do you plan to age in place? We’d love to be right there alongside of you. Of course, we’ve only listed a few of the many considerations for you and your loved ones to plan for a universally designed home.

This all doesn’t need to happen overnight but you know how life gets sometimes, it goes by in the blink of an eye. Why not get started today, so that you and your loved ones can live more comfortably tomorrow? We’d love to help.

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