Interior Design and Decorating

Is Your Home Long Term User Friendly?

There are several things your home should have if you are planning to age in place or live in for any length of time.  Some things can be adapted after you live there and there are some things you should look for when planning to purchase a home.  I am going to cover some home-buying tips for aging in place considerations.

One of the first things to look for is ease of access: are you able to enter the home without having to go up or down stairs?  Main floors should be accessible in at least one location without a step entry.  If there is a change in level at an entry, make sure there is a ramp accessible with a very shallow grade. 

Another thing to look for are the location of your activity areas like eating, sleeping and bathing areas: are they on the main floor so you are able to get to these areas without having to navigate stairs?  Also consider the laundry and utility access.  My parents have to go down a steep flight of stairs to get to the laundry and the furnace/water heater areas.  Not convenient and necessitated the need for a stair lift.  Some houses now have residential elevators installed in them but this is a pricey investment.

Take a look at the finishes that are throughout the home: are they easy care and safe for you as you get older?  Take a look past the glamour and think ease of maintenance and safety for yourself in the future.  You are going to want something that you don’t have to take care of all the time just to keep it looking nice.  Tasks will become harder to do as you age and if you can’t do them, you are going to have to pay to have them taken care of and your finances may not be as fluid as they may be right now.  You should think about your safety too.  Your

bones will be more brittle and you probably won’t be as spry as you are right now. 

Consider where things are located and if you will be able to get to them as you age: are the doors wide enough that if you were confined to a wheel chair or if someone had to help you, could you fit through them?  Doors should be a minimum of 32” wide but for good measure, try to choose a home that has 3’ wide doorways.  You will be very happy with your choice in the future.  Don’t forget to make sure the doors have lever handles and the cabinets have U-shaped handles.  Make sure you can lock your doors from a seated position too. 

The above considerations are just a few of the main things to consider when choosing your home to grow up in.  The AARP has some great information on accessibility and aging in place considerations- check them out.  Choose your home wisely and with an eye to the future.  I am more than happy to help with evaluating your home, please feel free to contact me: alesha@aechurba-design.  I welcome your comments.  Take care.



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