Aging in Place: Mobility

It may be difficult to consider the possibility of losing your mobility as part of the aging process. Should you end up needing the aid of a walker or wheelchair to get around, there are a few simple details you can incorporate into your custom home during the design and construction phases. These will ensure you will be able to use assistive devices seamlessly to allow you the use of all areas of your home.

  • Ensure there are no steps between the garage and the entry into your home. Typical construction methods create one or more steps between these spaces.
  • Zero-threshold entries for all exterior doors. These eliminate the traditional one-inch lip threshold and make it easier for wheelchairs, scooters, and walkers – as well as strollers, luggage, toddlers, etc. – to move freely through the doorway.
  • Place decks and patios at such a level so you can eliminate the steps to your outdoor spaces for greater enjoyment.
  • Create seamless entry into showers. Whether you prefer a tile or preformed shower base, special drain assemblies can be installed to eliminate the need for a curb. This allows anyone to easily enter a shower without assistance.
  • Use wide interior doors – 32 or 36 inches – rather than the standard 28 inches to accommodate wheelchairs. Levers are easier to operate than knobs.
  • Wet area grab bars. Although you may not want unsightly grab bars in the shower and next to a tub now, we can place solid blocking behind tiled walls during construction that coordinate with grab bar sizes and locations to allow you to easily add them in the future.
  • Wider corridors, hallways, and kitchens. Additional width in key areas gives someone using a wheelchair or walker full turning ability.
  • Residential elevators. These have progressed in recent years and become much more cost efficient. There are also a wide variety of styles and sizes available to choose from. We plan for future elevators in many of our projects by building the elevator shaft and mechanical rough-ins to create a seamless install when the time comes.
  • Effective site and grading planning. Beginning with aging in place in mind during design, we can plan exterior spaces in a way to ensure you can retain mobility not only in your home but also in the exterior spaces around your home.

There are also many smart home features that enhance aging in place and mobility

  • Ring Video Doorbell. This handy device allows a person to see, hear, and speak to someone at the door without having to open it. This is great for security purposes, and it also eliminates the need to rush to answer the door, which can increase the chance of falls.
  • Electronic Lighting Controls. Fumbling around in a dark room for a light switch creates a huge risk factor for falls. Many new lighting control platforms have integrated geocaching features that cause designated lights to automatically turn on when the user’s cell phone approaches the home.
  • MedMinder. This electronic pill dispenser with built-in cellular connections can be integrated into your home automation system. It offers flashing light reminders and audio prompts from in-home speakers when it’s time to take medication.
  • Stove Guard CookStop. This device will turn the stove off if it is left unattended after a predetermined amount of time.
  • In-home cameras. Cameras allow caregivers and family members to check on elderly loved ones from afar using any smart phone.

We have built many custom homes for clients with aging in place and special-needs children in mind. We have found a little proactive planning can go along way in long-term function and enjoyment of your home. If you have questions about how we can make your home work for you now and in the future, please talk to us.