Create a Home that Grows with You from Age 1-100

March 4, 2024

Aging in Place thru Universal Design Principals

Create a home that grows with you from the start. Universal Design principals are the key to home life ease and retirement success! Universal Design principals used during the design process create a space that is inclusive of the elderly and children resulting in a better thought out space. Older adults can and do continue living independently in their own homes and communities as they age. A recent study by AARP finding that 77% of 50 year olds and above prefer to age in place. This preference is also supported by multiple studies that highlight the numerous benefits of aging in place.

One of the key components of aging in place is the home itself. However, a report from 2020 estimated that only 10% of American homes are considered “aging ready,” meaning they are equipped to meet the needs of older adults (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9495472/). This suggests that there is a significant gap between the desire to age in place and the actual readiness of homes to support this lifestyle.

Despite this challenge, there are compelling reasons why aging in place is favored. A familiar environment can provide a strong sense of identity and allow older adults to utilize neighborhood services and resources, fostering a greater sense of community and connection (https://www.forbes.com/health/healthy-aging/aging-in-place-statistics/). Additionally, aging in place offers the comfort and security of being surrounded by cherished possessions, family, and pets, which can contribute to overall well-being and happiness[5](https://gero.usc.edu/students/current-students/careers-in-aging/the-value-of-aging-in-place/).

Furthermore, aging in place can result in potential cost savings at both the individual and societal levels. Recent studies on home-based health programs have shown that aging in place can lead to cost savings for individuals, as well as for state and federal governments (https://www.huduser.gov/portal/periodicals/em/fall13/highlight2.html). By minimizing the need for institutional care and medical interventions, aging in place can help reduce healthcare costs while promoting independence and autonomy.

As we age, it becomes increasingly important to create an environment that supports our changing needs. Aging in place is the concept of designing and adjusting our homes to accommodate the physical and emotional challenges that come with getting older. All commercial bathrooms are designed for the American Disabilities act, so the bathrooms can be attractive but it needs to be planned for ideally at the architecture stage so you have enough space and wide enough doors. Below we will explore some key elements to consider when designing an age-friendly home.

1. Safety First:

One of the primary goals of aging in place is to ensure safety within the home. Installing grab bars in the bathroom, improving lighting, and removing tripping hazards are just a few examples of safety modifications that can be made. By taking these steps, we can prevent accidents and promote independence.

2. Accessibility:

Another crucial aspect of designing an age-friendly home is improving accessibility. This includes a no step entrance, main level living, wide doorways to accommodate mobility aids like wheelchairs or walkers, not having multiple floors, and installing barrier free showers. If you have a Montessori kid or a family member in a wheel chair consider putting dishes in drawers so they can reach it and set the table. By removing the barriers for children and elderly, we can ensure that every part of the home is accessible to individuals with different physical abilities.

3. Functional and Comfortable Living Spaces:

As we age, it’s essential to have living spaces that are both functional and comfortable. Consider incorporating adjustable features such as height-adjustable countertops or adjustable beds. Additionally, choose furniture and decor that prioritize comfort and ease of use. By creating spaces that cater to our changing needs, we can maintain a sense of independence and enhance our overall well-being.

4. Smart Home Technology:

Embracing smart home technology can greatly enhance the aging-in-place experience. Automated lighting systems, voice-activated assistants, and motion sensor faucets are just a few examples of how technology can make daily tasks more manageable. These innovations not only promote convenience but also increase safety and security within the home.

5. Emotional Well-being:

Incorporate natural light, views and integrate ways to exercise into your lifestyle. Additionally, consider incorporating elements that evoke happy memories, such as displaying family photos or cherished mementos.

6. Other Keys to Retirement Success:

  • Home maintenance services like lawn and landscapers, handymen and HVAC technicians
  • Food and meal delivery services such as Peapod, Amazon and your local restaurants
  • Personal caregiving for help with bathing, dressing, cooking and walking
  • Home therapies with Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, and Speech Therapists
  • Cleaning services for your house, vents, gutters, and pressure washing
  • Ridesharing services such as Uber, Lyft or your local senior transit
  • Telemedicine and health monitoring to communicate with your doctors without actually having to be with them in person
  • Remote banking and financial services to manage your finances from the comfort of your home
  • Safety and security services such as cell phones, call buttons, and remote door cameras

By implementing these strategies, we can create homes that support us as we age, allowing us to maintain our independence and quality of life. Remember, aging in place is not just about the physical modifications but also about fostering the spirit, comfort of home, social engagement and saving money by not using facilities.

Take the first step towards creating your dream space. If you are a couple with multiple homes looking for a decorator near you, a hotelier doing a redesign, or a developer looking for top-notch interior design services near you, Rachel Blindauer and her team are here to bring your vision to life. With our wealth of experience and expertise, we can create stunning and functional spaces that exceed your expectations and bring you to a new height of design and sophistication.

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