Top 5 Tips to Incorporate Aging in Place Principles
One of the best things about building a custom home is the ability to create a house that is tailor made for you and your family's exact needs. Often, our clients plan to stay in their homes for decades, and there are a few elements to consider in the design of your home that can make it easier for you to live there regardless of your age. The concept of "aging in place" has generated numerous studies on exactly what you can do now to make the future enjoyable.
1. Kitchen Appliances
Many of the newest innovations in kitchen appliances were created with aging in place principles in mind. Drawer microwaves are installed in a base cabinet and open with the touch of a button. This allows you to lift hot items out of the microwave rather than lower them from above your head. Not only is this movement easier, but if you were to drop the hot food it would fall back into the appliance rather than on to you.
Raising the height of the dishwasher to be installed in a 42" tall cabinet makes the process of loading it much easier on your back as it is lifted to a comfortable height. The same principle applies to using a cooktop and wall oven instead of a range. Restaurant-style French door ovens have double doors that swing open, allowing you to reach the food easier and safer. Induction cooktops create heat only when a pan with magnetic properties is on the eye, so the risk of burns and fire is greatly reduced. Not only are today's appliances outfitted with the newest cooking technology, many are also created to give you additional safety and accessibility.
2. Zero Threshold Shower
Walk in showers normally have a shower floor that is recessed 4" lower than the bath floor. A zero threshold shower is a sloped entry that eliminates the step down into the shower and instead creates a gradual ramp. Linear drains are not only stylish but they assist in water control with this type of entry. It is important to discuss this type of shower layout in the plan design phase to be sure that the bathroom is configured properly to accommodate it.
Most all plumbing fixture style families have a faucet option that uses a lever handle to turn the water on and off. Levers are the easiest to use with limited hand function, and ensure that you can manipulate any faucet in your home with ease. The latest technology incorporates motion sensors on kitchen faucets that allow you to turn the faucet on or off with just a wave. Other sensors turn the water on when an item is placed in front of it, making it effortless to use. These functions are useful no matter what your age, and make living in your home more enjoyable.
Lighting fixtures are also an important consideration when designing your home. Adequate lighting is important for safety as well as to reduce eye strain. Additional recessed can lighting in bedrooms can increase your lighting options for the room, allowing you bright light when you need it. Dimmer switches give you complete control over the brightness level in each space, while LED tape lighting can be used almost anywhere to provide wonderful task lighting. Tape lights are also functional in the toe kick space of cabinets and can be an excellent option for providing soft light to illuminate your path in the dark.
Just like the plumbing fixtures, lever door handles are easier for anyone to operate and are an important consideration when planning for the future. Lever handles come in several hardware finishes from satin nickel to iron black, so they are very easy to incorporate into your design style. Cabinet pulls instead of knobs increase the functionality of the kitchen, making the doors and drawers easier to open. Enhanced cabinet hinges and glides like soft close provide a safety feature keeping your fingers from accidentally being slammed in a door. Some cabinet lines offer push to open options on heavier accessories like trash pull outs, making the use of those items simple for anyone.
There are new advances in home automation and technology that can make not only today easier, but the future as well. Voice command systems allow you the ability to make phone calls even if you can't pick up your phone, and they are also much simpler to use than apps or buttons. Video door bells give you the ability to see who is at your door without having to answer it, and advances in security integrate smoke detectors into the security system - alerting authorities if you don't take action. Most of these technologies work off your home's WiFi, so incorporating an in home network into the low voltage selections can provide you with the speed you need to operate these devices.
Whether you incorporate one or all of these items, considering aging in place ideas when designing your home can increase the functionality of your home both today and in the future. When the fixtures in your home are working with you and for you, everyday tasks are no longer a chore. Today's manufacturers are constantly finding new ways to not only add safety features to their products, but cutting edge style as well. We'd love to talk to you about how we can include aging in place principles in your new home!