Often when purchasing or building a home, we think of the “right now” wish lists instead of what may benefit us in 10, even 15 or more years. With many of the baby boomer generation set for retirement in the near future, downsizing and moving into a smaller, more practical space, may be a reality for some.
You don’t have to sacrifice style for function. Read on for a few tips on how to maximize your home’s potential for aging in place.
Floor Plan Design
While a bungalow or split-level floor plan may be trickier to find, consider a floor plan that has a master bedroom & bath, kitchen and living space on the main floor. Even if it is used as a guest space, for now, having the option to transition to the main floor later while saving trips up and down the stairs. Consider wide, open floor plans that aid in accessibility when aging in place.
It’s in the Details
Replacing door hardware may not be on the top of anyone’s décor wishlist, but your future self will thank you for considering the tiny details of your home. Door levers are much easier to push and pull open, whereas knobs may be harder to get a proper grasp. Ensure flooring transition strips are minimal and flush if available (for example: where tile transitions to hardwood). This will help in reducing tripping hazards in the home. Many new homes feature drop in tubs and showers that come with minimally designed grab bars, and also have non-slip bases. This is also an easy retrofit for an existing home.
Many features in our homes require manual work – blinds & curtains included. Luckily, window coverings are also motorized with the simple push of a button. This is perfect for those who don’t want to or simply can’t, fuss with closing the blinds every night. Thermostats can also be switched to ‘smart’ technology, and be preprogrammed to seasons – even down to the hours of the day.