Livable Design: Aging in your home gracefully.

Aging in your home gracefully…..What does that mean?

Many of us will require special accommodations to allow us the ability to age in our homes. As we age or due to an illness or accident, there are things we can do to make them more livable.

Livable Design blends style, function, and convenience by modifying an existing home or by building a new home to meet your needs over the long term.

Designer Premier has Ageing in Place Specialists that can help you understand your options, and the costs involved and help you live independently.

For a complimentary consultation please call us at 303.916.9515 or email.

There are many things to consider when you are modifying your home.

Here are some guidelines.

Entries and Thresholds: These should be well-lit and free of area rugs and obstacles. There should be at least one “Zero Step” threshold that allows a wheelchair to roll right into the home. It should be easily accessible from the street. Lighting is critical; add a sensor light at exterior no-step entry focusing on the front-door lock. Install non-slip flooring in the foyer and have a surface to place packages on when opening the door. An entry door sidelight or high/low peep hole viewer; sidelight should provide both privacy and safety.

Doors and Pathways: Remove any doors that are not necessary and keep pathways wide. Be sure to define floor changes with visual contrast and door handles should be lever style to make them easy to open. To accommodate a wheelchair, doors should be a minimum of 32” (Ideally 36”) and hallways should be a minimum of 42” (ideally 48”).

Doors and Pathways

Lighting: It is important to watch for glare which can cause accidents and to layer the light for tasks and ambiance. Window coverings should be put on a remote to be easier and safer to control/adjust lighting during the day.

Seating: When selecting seating it is important to have handles that come to the front of the seat which will make it easier to get out of.

Kitchens: Cabinets should be designed to allow easy access with large drawers and base cabinets with roll-outs and lazy-Susans. Select pull-down shelving and place the upper wall cabinetry three inches lower than conventional height when possible. Use solid surface materials for the countertops with carrying heights. There should be 42” between counters. Faucets are the easiest to maneuver when they have leaver handles and pull-outs. Thermostatic or anti-scald controls are useful features. Lower appliances like the microwave and raise the dishwasher and be sure that buttons are easy to read and push.

Doors and Pathways

Bathrooms: It is important to eliminate any thresholds and shower curtains and to add texture to benches to prevent falls.

Doors and Pathways

Image provided by Delta

Cabinets should be multiple heights (30” -36”) to allow for different tasks. Consider hi-style toilets that sit 18”-21” in height. The tub should have an area to sit and swing legs into the tub instead of stepping over an edge. Provide grab bars and slip resistance flooring as well as a handheld shower, shampoo niche, and scones for extra light. Radiant heated floors and half walls in open showers help with the loss of heat.

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Doors and Pathways

Electrical, Lighting, Safety, and Security: Light switches (Rocker or touch light switches), thermostats, and other environmental controls are placed in accessible locations no higher than 48 inches from the floor. There needs to be a clear access space of 30 inches by 48 inches in front of switches and controls. Easy-to-see and read thermostats and pre-programmed thermostats with electrical outlets 15 inches in the center from the floor are important. Install a high-tech security/intercom system that can be monitored, with the heating, air conditioning, and lighting, from any TV in the house. Security with a direct wire to police, fire, and a flashing porch light or 911 switch. Add an audible and visual strobe light system to indicate when the doorbell, telephone or smoke, or CO2 detectors have been activated.

Dwell Magazine highlights the universal design with a story about a renovated modern home in Seattle that features universal access space planning and ADA compliance. (9/15/2010). Click here

Call us today at 303.916.9515 to learn more about Aging in Place in your home or work with an interior designer and arrange a FREE consultation!

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