Aging in Place Home Design: Features for “Thriving in Place”
Aging in place home design features can be added to this beautiful one-story Spanish Courtyard home. Most Americans want to continue to live in their own homes and remain independent as they age, but without accessible or universal home design features for aging in place, their capability to successfully do so diminishes as years pass and their abilities change. While getting older is not something many people want to think about when building a home, aging in place home design today is about making smart enhancements for “thriving in place”. Anyone, regardless of their age, would want to do that.
What it Means to Age in Place
Aging in place is a term that refers to a person’s ability to live in their own home safely and independently, regardless of their age or ability. Age in place home design and remodeling incorporates features to enhance the livability of a home so occupants can continue to live in and enjoy it as they age. Read more about aging in place features in a home. While incorporating age in place features in a new home built can save the homeowners costly future renovations, often people don’t consider them because they don’t feel old yet or have a physical disability that requires the universal design features.
From “Aging in Place” to “Thriving in Place”
In HomeAdvisor’s October 2016 Aging-in-Place Report, Marianne Cusato, HomeAdvisor Housing Expert and Professor of the Practice at the University of Notre Dame’s School of Architecture, underscored the need for a change in the perception about aging in place. While most Americans age 50 and older (a population of about 108.7 million and expected to grow by nearly 10 percent in the next few years) plan to remain in their homes indefinitely as they age, only 22 percent of those surveyed have completed an aging-related home project. According to the report, the perception is that age in place home design features are solely for the elderly or disabled homeowners. To help change that perception, Cusato wants us to think about features for “thriving in place,” with a focus on enhanced livability for people of all ages. “Aging in place isn’t about special add-on features that will only help you once you’ve fallen and incurred a disability,” says Rodney Harrell, Ph.D., director of Livable Communities at AARP’s Public Policy Institute. “It’s about making functional home improvements that make spaces more useful and more usable for anyone, anytime.”
Aging in Place Home Design Benefits All Ages & Abilities
When building a new home on your lot, you can avoid future costly renovations by incorporating features for aging in place. But don’t think of them as “senior-proofing” your home. Instead, consider features commonly found in universal home design and renovation that can be appreciated by anyone at any age, features for thriving in place today and in the future. Open floor plans, wider doorways, good ventilation, lower cabinets, and smart home technology are just a few.
Smart Home Technology Enhances the Livability of a Home for All Ages
While young tech-savvy professionals will insist on smart home technology when building a new home, many older homebuyers aren’t as quick to adopt it. According to a Gartner survey, only 10 percent of households currently have connected home solutions. However, that percentage is expected to grow as more people realize the benefits. Connected home technology is often considered a luxury convenience, but smart home features enhance the livability of a home for all ages and support the age in place process. For instance, motion-sensor lighting is not only convenient, but can prevent falls when walking into a room. A smart thermostat can maintain comfortable temperatures automatically. If you forget to lock the door, your home can remind you, and even take care of it for you. With one simple touch, or voice control, you can control just about everything in the home. As you age, your connected smart home can help you continue to live independently, safely and comfortably.
Building a House for Aging in Place, A Home You Will Thrive In
When building a home, you can incorporate many age-in-place features that are basically invisible. Your home enhanced with the universal design features can be luxurious, the home you’ve dreamed about, and built to support you and your family indefinitely. We invite you to check out some of the floor plans at Design Tech Homes, which can be customized for aging in place. Contact us and learn more about your options for building a home with universal design – a home you can easily thrive in.