What is aging-in-place exactly?
If you are like the majority of Americans you want to continue living at home in a familiar environment throughout your maturing years. Aging-in-place means living in your home safely, independently and comfortably, regardless of age or ability level. It addresses the need to remodel existing homes and design new homes, so that people can age in place and not have to move to assisted-living facilities as they age. Since the vast majority of homes we live in are not well designed for this, a movement in residential construction has sprung up to meet this new consumer demand.
Construction and design professionals like Dupage Home Services are taking advantage of the CAPS training . This designation is taught through the National Association of Home Builders in collaboration with AARP. CAPS connects responsible professionals with homeowners who need these services on an ever-increasing basis.
The overall goal is to make the home safer, with less maintenance and more barrier-free. Typical changes include the following:
Getting safely and securely into and out of the house. For example,
- Better outdoor lighting to get you from your car to the door.
- Attractive ramps or a zero-step entrance for the home.
- A package shelf by front door.
- Handrails at existing steps and porches.
- A front door with sidelight for security.
- Fewer or no stairs.
Changes in the bathrooms – the number one place for accidents in your home. For example,
- Attractive grab bars in the shower.
- Lever handles on faucets.
- Slide-bar-type hand-held shower, for sitting or standing.
- Shampoo nooks inset in the wall.
- Curbless showers so that there is nothing to step over. These can be rolled into if a wheelchair becomes necessary later.
- Tub and shower controls moved closer to entry point.
- Anti-scald, temperature and pressure balanced tub shower valves for safer bathing.
- Widened entry doors to at least 32.”
- 32”-36” pocket doors.
- Higher toilets with non-slam seats and lids.
Changes in the kitchen for easier meal preparation and eating. For example,
- Lever-handle faucets with pull-out spray.
- Raised dishwasher to avoid back strain (a good idea for front-loading washers and dryers, too).
- Rolling island that can be placed back under the counter.
- Revolving corner shelves and pull-out shelves.
- Lower, side-opening oven.
- Pull-out cutting board.
- Adjustable height sink.
- Side-by side refrigerator with slide-out shelves and a water/ice dispenser.
- Cooktop with controls on front.
- Larger, friendlier cabinet and drawer pulls.
Moving around within the house. For example,
- Improved lighting with recessed fixtures in common areas and hallways.
- Lever handles on doors and windows.
- Lower light switches and thermostats; raised outlets.
- Planning for a future elevator by stacking closets.
- Adding blocking in walls for future chair lift at stairs.
- Wider doors that accommodate wheelchairs and walkers.