Designing with Access for All In Mind—Renovations
A study done by AARP stated that 87% of adults 65 and up wished to remain in their current home as they continue to age. Aging in place isn’t nearly as uncommon as some may think, and as more people begin opting to live at home or in multi-generational housing for families, countless families are finding that they need to do some form of renovation or another in order to create a home that allows accessibility for everyone.
The Benefits of Designing Accessible Homes in Advance
When the younger generation realizes that their parents are growing older, many choose to have their loved ones move in with them to help keep an eye on them and make sure their needs are met. This oftentimes leads to costly renovations needed throughout the home to cater to specific needs such as health concerns or limited mobility.
One way to head off these hefty renovation costs is to consider accessible home design during either the purchasing process or the building process if a homeowner is building a custom home from the ground up.
Not only is it significantly cheaper to build with accessibility for everyone in mind, but it also ensures that homeowners are thinking of not only the future of their loved ones but their own futures as well.
It also allows homeowners to have a say in the small details such as adding rods or levers to cabinetry instead of knobs. As trivial as that may sound, those small details can and will add up during a later renovation project.
Take the time to design an accessible home now and eliminate any later frustrations well in advance.
Access for All Renovation Ideas to Have in Mind
If building a universal design in advance simply isn’t in the cards, many renovation ideas can be implemented into a home that can make it accessible for everyone.
While many individuals will opt for a single-level home, that isn’t always an option, especially for multi-generation households. Renovating the main floor is vital when making a home accessible for everyone, and here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Have an open floor plan eliminating unnecessary hallways & doorways between living areas and kitchens
- Increasing the overall width of doorways & hallways to account for wheelchair and walker accessibility
- Having at least one bathroom on the ground floor, eliminating the need to go up and downstairs
Bathrooms often tend to be afterthoughts when it comes to designing accessible homes. While it is recommended to have at least a half-bath built into the ground floor of a home for accessibility, they often lack necessary space. Here are a few renovation tips to keep in mind for bathrooms:
- Build with enough space for the use of walkers & wheelchairs, adequate to turn within the space
- Install raised toilets to eliminate the need to bend down too far
- Reinforce walls for the use of grab bars
- Use grab bars instead of standard towel bars
- Install a wall-hung sink to eliminate extra cabinetry
- Install slip-proof bathtubs and showers
- Have a no-threshold entry for walk-in showers
Kitchens are essential because this is the room most families come in together the most. This means that an accessible home design needs to keep in mind the needs of every family member, ensuring that no one is left out. Here are a few renovation tips for the kitchen and dining area:
- Use lever or rod-style handles on cabinetry and drawers instead of knobs
- Raise the dishwasher to eliminate the need to bend or stoop
- Include varied-height cabinetry and counter-tops
- Have a wall-mounted sink that allows for knee space
- Floating counter-tops allow for knee space in prep areas
Other Things to Consider Throughout the Home
While the tips mentioned above may have been split according to rooms, many of them can be used throughout the home, including bedrooms, hallways, and general living spaces. There are a few other renovation tips that homeowners should keep in mind when designing with accessibility for everyone in mind:
- Avoid any unnecessary changes in floor height
- Lower light switches
- Raise electrical outlets
- Have quality light throughout the home
- Make use of cranks for opening windows
Renovations Can Create Accessibility for Everyone
While renovations can seem like a daunting task, they are oftentimes necessary. With proper planning and a quality design team at your disposal, accessibility for everyone in your home can be a reality. Let our team of Licensed Contractors show you what changes can be made at your home, at no obligation.