Aging in Place Design Tips for Your Custom Home
Aging in place is a hot topic today, as we’re living longer and healthier lives than ever before. Whether your current home is just feeling too large for your needs, or you’re finally an empty nester with the ability to build your luxury dream home, LIDA Construction can help.
No one wants to think about getting older, but you’ll absolutely thank yourself later for considering your future self when building your new custom home. When done right, your custom home will proactively support your needs as you age, while being the most beautiful place you’ve ever lived in. From careful layout planning to subtle universal design options, our expert team will create the ideal place for you to call home for many years to come.
Should I Choose a Multi-Story or Single-Story Home?
The first consideration is whether you’d prefer a multi-story home or a single-story home. There are many good reasons to choose a single-level home, but it’s not the only choice, even if you have some mobility issues. If you want to be able to take advantage of views or enjoy the increased privacy and security that comes with a multi-story home, consider ramps, wider staircases, or even an elevator.
Single level living
Single level homes, or rancher style homes, are a popular choice for empty nesters. With no stairs to worry about and with all living spaces and amenities located on one level, it’s much easier to go about your day.
You can say goodbye to trudging to the basement to collect the laundry, or lugging groceries upstairs. A well-designed single level home will give you just as much privacy and division between rooms and living spaces as you’d like.
Wider staircases – If you prefer multi-level living, we recommend wider staircases. Again, this is ideal for any age group, but particularly for seniors who may need a wider clearance for wheelchairs, or a future stairlift installation.
Elevators – If you really want to make your home something to talk about, consider putting an elevator in your home! A luxurious add on, elevators make it easy to move between floors, particularly with any mobility aids. What’s more, an elevator can potentially add to your home’s value.
What are Some of the Best Custom Designs and Features for My Forever Home?
From complete room design to all those little extras that make your life so much simpler, many of our favourite custom home features also apply to universal design principles.
Safer flooring Choices – Freshly mopped ceramic tile can be extremely slick and present a falling hazard for anyone. Ceramic tile and concrete flooring can also be hard and unforgiving in the event of a fall. Instead, consider softer vinyl plank, wood, or even stylish retro linoleum.
Wider door frames – Consider wider door frames for ease of access with wheelchairs or walkers. As a bonus, wider door frames have a luxurious look and feel.
Even thresholds between rooms – To keep tripping hazards at a minimum, use the same flooring throughout much of the home. This will help reduce the need for thresholds between rooms.
Lever-Style door handles – Lever style door handles are so much easier to use than traditional twist doorknobs, particularly if you suffer from arthritis or have any joint pain.
Handrails – Not just for staircases, handrails can be installed wherever you’d like extra support.
Electrical and Lighting
Three-way light switches – Turn on your light when you enter the room and turn it off from another location, like your bedside.(technically they’re 3-way switches…but keep as is for clarity?)
Indirect lighting and LED bulbs – Indirect lighting reduces glare and shadows and is gentler on aging eyes and those who may have trouble with depth perception. Meanwhile, using LED bulbs means that your bulbs will need to be changed much less often.
Install electrical outlets higher than usual – Electrical outlets installed between 18-24” are easier to find and access. In addition, you can map out exactly where you want your outlets to be located, to prevent needing to squeeze behind a couch or tv stand to plug something in.
Use Smart technology – Smart Technology lets you use your smartphone, tablet or a remote to control everything from your window coverings to your thermostat.
Luxurious Bedrooms and Guest Rooms
This new chapter is the ideal time to create your dream bedroom!
Pocket doors – Choose pocket doors in place of swinging doors for closets and entry doors. Swinging doors can present problems and get caught on wheelchairs or walkers.
Allow lots of space – Ensure there’s plenty of room around the bed and all furniture to get around with ease. Consider an extra-large master bedroom and ensuite, a great walk-in closet, a reading nook by the window, or anything else you’ve always wanted.
Don’t forget a guest room! – Whether for your visiting friends, kids or grandkids, you’ll want a cozy space for them that isn’t the living room couch. One great option is combining a guest room with your office or hobby room so you’re not stuck with a room that goes unused between visits.
Consider a master suite for guests – With a bathroom, living room and bedroom and even a small kitchen, your guests will be right at home, without feeling like they’re intruding on your space. This is such a great addition for caregivers who may need to stay at your house for longer periods of time, or even just your snowbird friends who were in the area.
Choose a walk-in bathtub or large curbless shower in at least one of the bathrooms.
Add stylish built-in shower benches – Forget those plastic shower seats. A spa-like shower design can naturally incorporate a bench without that institutional look.
Go for a larger bathroom – You’ll want a bathroom that’s got plenty of room to move around in to make getting ready a breeze or allow assistance if needed.
Install raised toilet seats – Lower height toilet seats can make it difficult for adults with lessened mobility to use the washroom independently. A higher toilet is more comfortable and easier to access.
Opt for grab bars that mimic the look of towel bars – Towel bars aren’t designed to withstand any real weight, but minimalist-designed safety bars can help with mobility. Of course, we’ll design your spaces with extra strength to support these additions.
Install cabinets with pull-out shelves and drawers instead of cupboard doors – Your items will be easier to see and keep organized and you won’t need to root around in dark corners of cupboards to find what you need. These are excellent for people of all ages.
Install cabinets with glass doors and pulls instead of knobs – Not only will you be able to see exactly what’s in your cabinet, but a good quality pull is much easier to use if you have any arthritis or joint pain. You could also opt for touch to open style doors and drawers, which will open with a light push.
Choose a kitchen island or prep space that lets you sit comfortably while you prepare your meals.
Install appliances that can be set at comfortable heights- It can be painful to unload a dishwasher that is sitting at floor level, or difficult to access an oven that is too low. By customizing the height of your major appliances, you’ll be able to work in your kitchen with ease.
Reconsider placing upper cabinets over the stove – Reaching up over a hot stove is a hazard for just about everyone, but especially so when your balance may be impaired.
Easy Care Exteriors
Choose lower maintenance exterior finishes – A metal roof, fiber cement siding and composite decking over a traditional shingled roof and wood siding or decking, which requires frequent refinishing and staining/painting.
Don’t forget your landscape – If you’re done with mowing the lawn, talk to a landscaper about their recommendations for creating a beautiful low-maintenance space. High garden beds, well-thought-out walkways, irrigation systems and an inviting entertaining space are just some of the great things you can do with your new space.
The perfect patio or deck – Now’s the ideal time to get the covered deck or sunroom you’ve always wanted. If you’ve given up your large backyard and garden for a smaller and easier to maintain property, you can still welcome the outdoors in with a great entertaining and gardening space.
Aging in place is a beautiful thing. If you’re considering a custom build for your last home, our team at LIDA Construction can make it the best one you’ve ever had. We’ve built over 200 homes in Greater Victoria, BC and we have over two decades of experience providing excellent craftsmanship and customer care. To get started with a free consultation, contact us by email or call 778-440-5432.