Even if you only weave a few aging-in-place tactics into your plans, these five tips from the AARP will boost your home’s functionality now and in the future.
- As you age, measurements matter more, so make sure you’ve planned spaces accordingly. Entryway doors should be at least 36 inches wide, while interior-door widths can range from 34 to 36 inches. Hallways should measure 42 inches across at a minimum.
- Think ahead when you’re arranging your home’s rooms. By positioning at least one bedroom and one full bath on the main level, you’re setting yourself up for easier access in the future. Think about placing your washer and dryer near your primary suite, too, to make it less strenuous to haul laundry around. Connect those spaces to the main living area with at least one 3-foot-wide corridor that’s free of steps and other hazards.
- Lighting is an easy way to make any home more accessible. To ease stress on aging eyes, use the maximum wattage allowed in all your lamps and lighting fixtures, and opt for a dimmer system so that you can adjust as needed. Also, bump up the natural lighting in your home by keeping windows free of shades and curtains during the day. Lastly, make sure that all light controls, as well as electrical outlets and thermostats, are easily reachable from a seated position.
- Replacing handles and hardware is an easy, cost-conscious way to allow your home to age gracefully. Instead of choosing knobs that require twisting, install lever-style models for your door handles and faucets, which will make them easier to operate over the years. For your cabinets, think about installing slide-out shelves for better access to items in the back and replacing hard-to-grasp knobs with U-shaped pulls.
- To enter the home, incorporate at least one no-step entry. This entryway can lead to either the front, back or garage door. If you decide to forgo this option, at a minimum, install handrails or railings on any exterior stairways.