Aging in Place: Customized Home Design
Staying in one’s own home for as long and as comfortably as possible is a reality with the right design, and a right many of us expect. Today, with innovative home design and new technologies, aging in place is a realistic option for the majority of Americans, and nearly 75 percent of those surveyed by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) hope to remain in their homes as they age. Staying in one’s home is a practical and cost-effective path for retirement, and Wentworth can help make this happen.
Personal Touches for Aging in Place
Though an eye towards planning for the future typically motivates age-in-place remodeling, everyone’s home is personal. Where basic grab bars, wider doorways and enhanced lighting might be enough for a homeowner looking to make the basic improvements to their beloved home, another homeowner might be thinking of the time he or she will spend gardening in retirement. Here, a garden room may be just as important as grab bars and hand rails! Others might be focused on gourmet cooking or baking and want to upgrade their kitchen for their retirement hobby. Happiness in their home might include having family and friends gathered for a home cooked meal. Your needs and lifestyle preferences ultimately drive the home design!
Personal comfort and hobbies, as well as health and safety issues, all influence the definition of what it means to live in your home for the long term. In our experience working with homeowners who desire to age in place, we’ve found that each person, couple, or family –whether they are planning for years down the road or an immediate need – interprets how they live in their home in unique ways. And that interpretation in turn influences the final home design.
For one Chevy Chase, Maryland client, for whom sidewalk steps would ultimately prove problematic, we removed steps and installed a new gently sloped sidewalk, and added protection in the form of a new covered porch with glassed-in-sides at the front door to reduce the need to remove snow or worry about stormy weather.
Combining Fun & Comfort for Long-Term Living Home Remodeling
While aging in place usually conjures up images of practicality and not necessarily fun design features, a recent Arlington, VA homeowner managed to merge the two. By designing a first-floor master suite that eliminated the need to go upstairs, the homeowner also added an adjoining TV room, paneled in cherry and complete with an exhaust fan for cigar smoking. Now the homeowner – a widower hoping to retire and live out his life in the home he loves – can easily enjoy his home and personal interests in comfort.
Comfort is key when incorporating age-in-place details, and clients looking to remodel their master bathrooms will seek to improve livability in unobtrusive ways. Such details are seldom obvious to the average visitor and can be aesthetically pleasing and beautiful in a modern bathroom design. A curbless shower, with its clean line appearance, is a great example of how to incorporate practical details into a new bathroom. A curbless shower design allows the floor to flow continuously from the bathroom into the shower stall, and also prevents tripping hazards caused by a traditional shower curb.
Simple remodeling projects can further transform your bathroom into a friendlier place for long-term living. Removing a tub and adding a shower stall with grab bars and a bench is an easy way to improve the livability of your bathroom, and handheld hose sprayers will allow you to bathe while seated on a shower bench. Such improvements not only enhance the safety of your bathroom, but also add to the personal enjoyment of your space, allowing you to remain in your home as long as you choose.
Expand Your Space to Age in Place
Staying in your home for the long term is a personal decision, and it can also be the pursuit of a lifelong dream. For a Washington, DC client who recently purchased the townhouse adjacent to hers, it is the dream of combining two separate homes into one. The final home design solution will have all of her necessary living spaces on the ground floor, with hobby and guest space on the second floor. Her retirement home will be larger, more accessible and comfortable than the home she lived in for 20 years. The new space will allow her to enjoy life and entertain as she ages in place.
Combining two townhouses also provides the opportunity, as well the necessary space, for a live-in caregiver if the need arises. Many clients already have small basement apartments or nanny, guest or in-law suites. With small changes, such suites can make great apartments for a caregiver.
It’s All About You!
Your home is personal, and how you live in it should be too, whether it’s for the next few years or the next twenty or more. Aging in place should mean practical and aesthetically pleasing enhancements that allow you to confidently stay in your home, but it doesn’t stop there. If you’re hoping to spend more time with your grandkids and need a play space or a guest room, or if you want a custom wine cellar and built-in bar, the options are endless and the choice is yours! The design team at Wentworth can help customize your home so you can age in place in a dignified and graceful way.