Whether you’ve found the home you want to grow old in or you’re planning for an elderly relative to move in with your family, the design choices you make now should be made with a weather eye to the future.
You’ll want to consider adding those independent-living accessories now that will make life easier and safer for you or a relative down the road. Here are some suggestions.
Keep the kitchen safe and accessible by skipping trendy remodels that could transform it into an obstacle course.
Round the edges of countertops and shelves to reduce the risk of bumps and bruises. Place the microwave at or below counter height to eliminate the need to reach for hot dishes; frailer individuals have difficulty lifting and carrying cookware, which may cause spills and slipping hazards.
Also, make allowances for walkers or wheelchairs with lower countertops and extra space.
Consider installing a pull-out pantry with drawers that display all contents at a glance and permit easy access.
Note that U-shaped kitchen guidelines call for at least 60 inches (152 cm) of clearance between opposite cabinets, walls, or appliances; galley kitchens, a minimum of 40 inches (102 cm).
The bathroom can be a dangerous place for elderly people. Experts recommend you elevate the toilet, and install grab bars for getting in and out of the shower or tub safely.
Many designers are now including these features as a matter of course, so they needn’t negatively impact the resale value of your home.
Make sure the floors of your home are slip-resistant. Vinyl flooring offers good slip resistance and softness underfoot.
Tile floors should have enough grout and texture to grip. If your home’s interior has a few steps up to a landing or doorway, consider installing a threshold ramp; several kinds of affordable and easy-to-install rubber ramps are now available.
Well-considered changes now will make a big difference later.