“Aging in place” refers to living where you have lived for years, typically not in a health care environment, using products, services, and conveniences which allow you to remain home as circumstances change. In other words, you continue to live in the home of your choice safely and independently as you get older.
We talk to our clients about making decisions for renovations and new construction based on the idea of the 100 year house. Are there things that can be considered now that will allow the most flexibility as your circumstances change in life? For instance, you can frame for grab bars to be installed later, but if the framing is not there, installation of the grab bars means tearing out drywall in the future. You can also design multiple height counters in the kitchen so you can work while sitting or standing, this also gives the kids a place to “help” in the kitchen now. While there are just two simple things that you might not even notice, they will provide for dignity, security, and peace of mind as you get older. Some more advanced options that you could consider are web cams and voice command systems to allow for security and independence, pre-wire for medical support monitoring systems, installation of hazardous waste disposal systems, and plan for oxygen and a lift for mobility.
While you may not want to install all these options in your home, you should look at ways to stretch out our homes livability. Simple design modifications will allow for long-term security and comfort and save you money over the life of the project.