Aging in Place and Custom Home Design
Aging in place is the term used to describe a person living where he or she chooses, for as long as they are able. Part of this planning includes thinking about various forms of assistance or support services as needs change. While it’s not always the easiest topic to think about with your family, it is important. Planning now can help alleviate difficult housing situations in the future. As creative custom home builders, we help clients consider future needs and build them into a home that will be both beautiful and functional now and in the future.
Building a House to Grow Old In
Seniors report a higher quality of life and increased happiness when they can control where they age. Having control over where you live helps preserve a sense of autonomy and dignity, and oftentimes, we are most comfortable during our elderly years in places that are familiar.
In order to build a house that will sustain a degree of independence late in life, it’s vital to acknowledge the general changes to one’s abilities that come with aging. As we get older, our bodies and capabilities change. Strength and endurance fades, vision and hearing fails, mobility may become more challenging, and we become more prone to falls from decreased balance. The elderly are also more prone to illness and may require specialized equipment or medical technologies. All of this becomes a consideration when designing a home.
Custom Elements for Increased Independence
There are plenty of ways to make a home safer and more functional for older populations. The design-builder’s goal is to craft a home so you can remain independent and in your home longer. Common choices include:
Single Floor Plan: Falling is a serious health risk for those over 65. In fact, more than 1 in 3 people over 65 fall each year. A “no-step” floor plan is a simple way to reduce the risk of falling. Living in a flat, coastal area usually means stilts or crawl spaces. However, you can still living independently at the beach by using ramps or elevators to allow easy access to raised living spaces.
Open Floor Plan: Incorporating open spaces and wide halls and entryways makes it easier to navigate your home should you use a walker, wheelchair, or other mobility device in the future. Depending on your needs, we can also design kitchens and bathrooms so they are functional from a seated position.
Accessible Bathrooms: Walk-in tubs and showers eliminate the risk of falling trying to step over a conventional bathtub. Modern options for fully accessible bathrooms are beautiful and functional.
Pocket Doors: A pocket door is a sliding door that recesses into a wall when opened. Pocket doors are easier to open and navigate through if using a chair or walker. They also have the added benefit of opening up a bit more space in a room. Another popular option right now is the sliding bar-door style.
Elevator or Chair Lift: Even if you choose not to add an elevator when you build, designing for the possibility of adding one is a good idea. Stairs tend to make independent living challenging and dangerous for aging populations. Moving to a “no-step” home is one of the best ways to make aging in place a possibility.
Home Automation System: Home automation has come a long way. You can now open, close, and lock doors from a device and turn on lights from a smartphone. Adding sensor lights and other smart appliances can make living independently safer and more convenient.
Odom Design is a Creative Design-Build Solution
Whether you are retiring to the Myrtle Beach area and looking for a custom home to grow old in, or you are considering a renovation to make aging in place a realistic goal, Odom Design can help. To learn more about how our design team can create a home for aging in place, give us a call and let’s chat.