Updated: Feb 16
The Top Requirements of an Accessible Home
Your forever home can live up to its name! Many people don't consider how long they'll be able to live comfortably in their forever homes until everyday activities start to become an issue:
Stepping in and out of the shower might become dangerous
Front steps can deter wheelchairs from entering your home
Doorways might be too narrow for walkers and wheelchairs
Deep pile carpeting could hinder (or falter under) the use of wheeled devices
Additionally, homeowners looking to bring their aging parents into their own homes will find it necessary to account for these same accessibility concerns. Here's how to best solve them...
1. ACCESSIBLE SPACES
Every entrance to your home, including access to outdoor living spaces, should be stair-free or at least provide a stairless option. This can be as simple as designing a deck, porch, or patio that includes a ramp alongside any stairs, or it can be as complex as adding an interior elevator.
Curbless and stairless entrances will allow for anyone using a walker or wheelchair (or even a cane) to more safely navigate in and out of the home and enjoy a better quality of life.
Every project is different and what is right for one person may not be right for another. That being said, ensuring walking paths are well-lit and clear of tripping hazards is something that is beneficial for anyone!
2. MAIN FLOOR AMENITIES
Standard kitchen countertop and cabinet heights might become an issue if you or another family member rely on a walker or wheelchair. Renovating a kitchen for those who wish to age in place includes adapting some or all countertops to accommodate wheelchair heights, same for any built-in desks or common furniture (think dining tables and breakfast nooks).
Living room seating with assisted lift features is another necessity for aging in place. While these pieces can be added later, the floor space allowances should be calculated into the overall floor plan of your room(s) ahead of time. Lastly, the main suite of the home should be located on the first floor, complete with easy access to a curbless shower and a laundry room.
3.MOTORIZED & AUTOMATED
You might routinely draw the drapery, shades, or blinds in your home depending on the time of day or a specific privacy need. To ensure you and your family members can maintain this level of dignity for years to come, it's wise to consider motorized or fully automated window treatments.
Nearly all custom window treatments can be designed with this accessibility in mind and should be standard for expansive or hard-to-reach windows.
Perhaps even automated on a timer to open / close at certain times of day or to match the sunrise / sunset fluctuations of the seasons. Motorization can also be manually controlled through an app on your smart device, making it even easier to take full command over your home.
Wondering if Ponte Vedra Beach or St. Augustine is the right place for your second home or retirement? Check out our recent post on Homes in Ponte Vedra.
According to an ASID Aging in Place survey, 57% of homeowners end up moving out of their homes as they age due to maintenance issues. The burden of upkeep can quickly become too much, or too unsafe, to manage. Low-maintenance materials are an important trend for those wishing to stay in their homes through the golden years.
Don't block them inside.
Especially in high-traffic areas, such as kitchens, we advise our clients to stay away from design features that block people inside, such as L-shaped peninsulas or inadequate spacing between the island and a bank of cabinets, for example. More open floor space is better for people who use walkers and wheelchairs, especially when turning around.