Aging in Place House Plans - Custom Details to Consider

UNIVERSAL DESIGN

For individuals building a home in which they plan to retire and live for the rest of their lives (age in place), the appropriate barrier-free structural features are not complete without customized specifications and details.

To successfully achieve a safe and comfortable environment (a universal design) for your retirement home consider customizing these finish details and products to truly enhance the quality of life.

SPECIFICATIONS AND DETAILS

Kitchen:

  • More accessible kitchen cabinets (fewer wall cabinets) or drop the height 3" lower than standard.
  • Shelves no more than 10" deep and possibly pull down.
  • Base cabinets with roll out trays and corner cabinets with lazy susans.
  • Cabinets with D or loop handles.
  • Single lever pull-out spray faucet.
  • Smooth counter tops (for sliding rather than lifting heavy pots) set at varied heights for cooks of different heights and with open spaces under for knee room. For one of our clients with a progressive condition we specified removable base cabinets to allow for future wheelchair access.
  • Trash compactor and garbage disposal to reduce the amount of trash generated.

Bath and Laundry:

  • Bath sinks with open space under for knee room.
  • Minimum 36" no threshold showers with fold down seat.
  • Tubs with doors.
  • Grab bars at toilet, tub and shower areas.
  • Hand-held shower heads with 6' hose and off-center controls.
  • Raised or adjustable toilet seat (17" to 19"), personal hygiene toilets.
  • Lever style faucets.
  • One-handed style changeable toilet paper dispenser.
  • Rounded counter top corners with color contrast for better visibility.
  • Easy access laundry appliances.
  • Adjustable storage shelves.

Appliances:

  • Stove with large easy to read front mounted controls and smooth surface for easy sliding.
  • Side by side refrigerator which allows for frequently used refrigerator and freezer items to both be placed at convenient mid-shelf level.
  • Side-swing oven door or wall oven mounted at accessible height.
  • Raised dish washer or drawer-designed unit.
  • Microwave oven at accessible level (no higher than 48" above floor). A popular feature with many of our clients lately, regardless of abilities, is the microwave in a drawer which opens automatically with the touch of a button and works out very well in an island design location.
  • Front load washer and dryer raised 10" to 15" from the floor.

Miscellaneous: Aging-in-place reach Range

  • Slip resistance kitchen and bath flooring.
  • Carpet pile less than ½" high with firm pad.
  • Easy glide drawers.
  • Peep-hole at high and low levels at entry door.
  • Antibacterial finishes.
  • Good ventilation; comfortable heating and cooling system.
  • Rocker style light switches set no higher than 48" (ideally 42").
  • Outlets set at a minimum of 15" from floor (ideally 18").
  • Task lighting for work areas.
  • Closet lighting.
  • Sensory lighting at entry.

It is important to consider these fine details and specifications for your retirement home. A little planning will go a long way to help make your aging in place home one that will provide comfort and peace of mind for many years to come.


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