As we get older, it can become more challenging to live independently. Doing basic things around the house — climbing stairs, taking a shower, making meals — can become more difficult or  even dangerous without the right precautions and safety protections. Aging in place often requires making home modifications that ensure your home is accessible and safe. 

Thankfully, there are a few steps you can take to upgrade your home so you can perform daily tasks safely, comfortably, and unassisted — regardless of your age, income, or physical abilities. Creating an aging-in-place house plan can help you be prepared for the years when getting around isn’t as easy as it used to be. 

Let’s take a closer look at what you can do to create and implement a plan for aging in place in your own home.

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What Is Aging in Place?

Aging in place refers to the ability of older adults to live safely, independently, and comfortably in their own homes and communities as they age, regardless of their physical or cognitive abilities. It’s about maintaining autonomy and a sense of belonging while receiving the necessary support to lead fulfilling lives.

The desire to age in place is becoming more popular among many older adults. Studies have shown that around 90% of seniors would prefer to stay in their own homes as they age rather than move to an assisted living community.

What Is an Aging-in-Place House Plan?

Aging-in-place house plans are residential designs that include features that support the changing needs of people as they get older. These plans differ from standard house plans because of their emphasis on accessibility and safety to accommodate mobility and health issues that often come with age.

Traditional house designs often include multiple levels, narrow doorways and hallways, and fixtures that may not be user-friendly for those with mobility challenges. Aging-in-place house plans place a priority on making it as easy as possible to move throughout the house and perform everyday tasks safely and independently. This typically involves making modifications such as adding non-slip flooring, grab bars in bathrooms, or ramps and stairlifts.

The benefits of aging-in-place house plans revolve around the ability to stay in your own home as long as possible. They include:

Increased Comfort and Safety

Aging-in-place house plans prioritize features that increase comfort and safety, such as single-level living, accessible bathrooms and kitchens, and wider doorways and hallways for easier navigation.

Long-Term Cost Savings

While there may be an initial investment involved in modifying a home to meet aging-in-place standards, these costs can be significantly less than the ongoing expenses that come with assisted living facilities or nursing homes.

Improved Quality of Life

Living in a familiar environment can significantly enhance your quality of life physically, mentally, and emotionally. Aging-in-place modifications often include features that allow for easier social interaction, such as open floor plans and accessible outdoor spaces.

Maintaining Autonomy

One of the most significant benefits of aging in place is the ability to maintain independence and autonomy. Being able to continue living in one’s own home can significantly contribute to a sense of self-sufficiency and dignity.

What Are the Key Features of Aging-in-Place House Plans?

When putting together your aging-in-place house plan, consider including key features such as:

Single-Level Living

Stairs can be a significant obstacle to navigating freely and safely throughout your home. If your home has a second floor, it’s possible to make adjustments that allow you to spend most or all of your time on the main level, or add a stairlift to make it easier to move between floors.

Wide Doorways and Hallways

If you or someone in your home uses a walker or wheelchair, it can be extremely helpful to widen doors or walkways in the commonly used areas of the home.

Stability in Bathrooms and Kitchens

Since bathrooms and kitchens can have wet floors and require repeated reaching, it may be necessary to install walk-in showers or tubs, grab bars, height-adjustable countertops, and other user-friendly fixtures.

Non-Slip Flooring and Outdoor Spaces

Slips and falls are the most common cause of injuries in the home. You can mitigate the risk of serious accidents both inside and outside the home by installing slip-resistant flooring.

Steps for Converting Your House into an Aging-in-Place Home

When planning to transform your home into an environment that’s safe for aging in place, you’ll need to take the following steps to make it happen:

Estimate the Costs and Timeline

Consult with experienced and knowledgeable contractors who specialize in aging-in-place renovations to get a realistic estimate of costs and timelines.

Talk With Your Family

Communicate openly and honestly with your loved ones about the changes you’d like to make in your home to make it more accessible. They may be able to help you make sure your aging-in-place house plans cover all your essential needs and support you in your efforts.

Hire Professionals

While many home modifications can be done simply and affordably by yourself, some may require professional help. They can also ensure that the modifications comply with safety standards and building codes and meet your specific needs.

Consider Technology for Added Safety and Convenience

Smart home technology can assist in managing lighting, temperature, security, and more. By automating many of your home’s functions, you create an environment that makes using your home as easy as a voice command or tap of a button.

Omicelo Health Can Help With Aging-in-Place House Plans

At Omicelo Health, we specialize in helping older homeowners plan home modifications that allow them to age in place. We provide guidance for selecting accessibility options, financing, and installation. Contact us today for more information about aging in place in your home.

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