My Top 5 Aging in Place Design Tips
1. Install Safe Flooring
For the elderly, the risk of falling is much higher, and the consequences are more severe. Whether you are building a separate DADU or using a room in your main house, the flooring should be safe. Avoid using a slippery floor material like glossy tiles or polished stone. If you love your existing floor and are looking for a temporary solution, you can apply adhesive nonskid strips in critical areas.
2. Ditch Your Round Doorknobs
Those with arthritis can have a hard time turning doorknobs to open doors. An easy but effective upgrade is to change your round doorknobs for handle-style models. They can be pushed down easily rather than requiring a strong grip and a turning movement.
3. Redesign Your Bathroom
Bathrooms can also be challenging for seniors. Even a two-inch step into the shower can be extremely difficult for those who struggle with mobility. If possible, install a curbless shower and choose a flooring material that remains grippy when wet. The height of the showerhead should be easily adjusted, and the showerhead itself should be lightweight and easily removable for handheld use. Build in a shower seat or add a freestanding one that is designed for the purpose.
If your loved one has difficulty standing up from a seated position, you may need to swap out your standard toilet for one with a higher seat height. Be sure to add handles next to the toilet to make sitting and standing safer.
4. Give Special Attention to Stairs
For anyone with mobility issues, stairs are the most challenging part of the home. If your elderly parent is moving in, it is essential to take a critical look at your stair situation. You may need to add extra railings or even a lift. On your home's exterior, you may need to add a ramp leading up to your front or side door. It can make entering and exiting your home much easier for someone with limited mobility, and it is essential for those who use a wheelchair.
5. Add Grab Bars Everywhere
When seniors walk around their home, they tend to reach for the closest thing to give them stability. You'll want that thing to be railing or something equally as stable. Not a chair or the flat surface of the wall.
Aging in place design
Once you've made your aging in place design checklist and presented it to your chosen design-build firm, you will be well on your way to creating a safe place for your parent to reside. Some basic attention to aging in place design will help ensure that your aging relative is safe and comfortable in your home.