Make Your Home Accessible

 

accessible housing ways to make your home accessible

When it comes to thinking about downsizing your home, many people automatically think about moving into a condo or townhome. While those options are one way to go, they may not be the best decision for you in the long run. Unless it is specifically designed to be accessible, it may not be suitable for the long term.  Building a new, custom designed accessible home offers you the ability to pick and choose features that will allow you to age in place.

Accessible design is about forward thinking.  A home that is designed and constructed to be accessible will be safer and more accommodating to the diverse range of ages and abilities of people who live in the home. Which will help you avoid costly renovations later. Accessible living features can be incorporated into your home in ways you likely won’t even notice unless you are aware of the challenges people with reduced mobility often face when getting around. Some of the design elements to make your home more accessible are:

  • Open concept floor plans – Fewer doors and hallways with rooms that flow into one another to make it easier for people with mobility constraints.
  • The placement of rooms – Taking into consideration rooms that you’ll likely spend the most time in, and their proximity to a bathroom or other commonly used rooms
  • Mobility – Wider hallways and doors, and a continuous, accessible path of travel, flooring suitable for wheelchair mobility (smooth, slip resistant).
  • Evacuation in the case of emergencies – As few stairs as possible (walk-out style homes, or large windows that slide to open).
  • Placement – Cabinets and shelving should be placed at a height that’s within reach, as well as light switches and thermostats. Clear floor space around appliances, counter tops and electrical plugs and switches.
  • Walk-in/roll-in showers and tubs – With reinforced walls that allow for grab bars to be installed now or in the future.
  • Doorways – The most accessible doorways don’t have doors. Limit the number of doors to only what is necessary. (Pocket doors may be the best option).  Designs that require low physical effort can be used efficiently by installing door handles rather than knobs and lever style faucets.
  • View – It’s important to consider people’s viewpoints when determining the height of windows in the rooms as well as to view outside the exit doors so it’s easy to tell who is at your door. Windows should be larger and or placed lower to the floor.
  • Maintenance – Try to choose flooring that is easy to clean but durable enough to withstand damage from the repetitive use of walkers or wheelchairs.
  • Technology – Install features that provide visual and audible cues and instructions such as on a thermostat, light fixtures, security alarms and other smart home features.
  • Size and Space for Approach – Appropriate size and space is needed for approach, reach, manipulation and use of user’s body size, posture or mobility.

Future proofing your home with accessible features is not just something you should consider if you are at the age where retirement and downsizing are in the picture. It is becoming increasingly popular with families and individuals of all ages who are choosing to build their forever, family home. By including accessible features in your home, you will easily save time and money in the future.