As custom home builders, we're keenly aware of the need for homes that are designed for aging in place. The newest developments in aging-in-place design are more than just accessible features and amenities. Aging-in-Place Design is all about functionality, but it also needs to look great.
If you aren't familiar with the concept of "aging in place" it's the idea that homeowner would prefer to live in their home for as long as possible as they age. The home is designed or remodeled to include features that would assist someone who has limited mobility, or other needs that are more wide spread in the senior population.
Baby Boomers - those born between 1946 and 1964 - are now retiring and experiencing an empty nest. What that means for many is a smaller home that has been designed for those needs specific to aging. We've talked about aging in place many times - Designing Your Dream Home for Retirement and St. Louis Home Builder Buzz: About Aging in Place, and will continue to because it's such an important part of building a home.
St. Louis Aging-in-Place Home Builder
Not all home builders in St. Louis take into consideration the special needs of seniors. We're all going to get older, and we're all going to need to make accommodations for the conditions and diseases that afflict the aging. These newest developments in aging-in-place design will evolve over time and as the technology gets better. We're thrilled to be at the forefront of the aging-in-place design revolution.
Form and Function
Thankfully, aging in place is now in vogue and more and more companies associated with home building are taking notice and designing their products with aging in place features in mind. While many of these features can be incorporated into the home building process - no threshold walk-in shower for example - other features like lower counter spaces and appliances are no longer considered out of the question or custom designed.
Aging in place is still a fairly new idea, and it will continue to evolve as medicine and technology evolve. In the mean time, these are the top aging in place features our homeowners are requesting.
Newest Developments in Aging-in-Place Design
One Level Living
It goes without saying that one level living is perfect for those who want to age in place. Stairs can become difficult for those with arthritis or other joint issues. Our homeowners don't want to navigate stairs anymore, and they probably don't want the extra work of maintaining a home with a second or third level to it. A single story home is not only easy to get around in, but it's easy to clean.
Open Living Space
Just because you want to build a home that is aging in place certified doesn't mean you don't still have an active life. Another top request we get for an aging in place home is one that has an open floor plan. Our homeowners, especially the ones who are retired, want a welcoming space where they can entertain friends, family and especially the grand kids.
No Threshold Walk-In Shower
Tubs are out, unless they are walk-in tubs, and no threshold walk-in showers are in. Walk-In Showers have come a long way from the old metal inserts you'd find in the basements of many homes. Today they are built with stone, tile and other beautiful materials to show off the homeowner's style. The shower floor can be treated with no-slip flooring to make showering safer and more enjoyable. While many homeowners have a tub in their master bath, others remove it and use the space for a larger vanity or larger walk-in closet.
Right Height Toilets
Speaking of bathrooms, toilets that are the right height to the homeowner. That could be higher or lower depending on the person. This can get tricky with couples, as they tend to be different sizes, but what we've learned is that the standard toilet seems to be on its way out. Additionally, home owners want toilets with other features including heated seats, dual flush and those that offer personal hygiene options. Kohler makes a toilet that is 2 inches higher than the standard toilet which can make a huge difference to those with mobility issues.
Another trend we're seeing in homes that are aging in place designed is the pocket door. The pocket door is a door that slides into the wall. It's a great space saver and easy to use.
Wider Doorways and Hallways
Homeowners are insisting on building their homes with wider doorways and hallways in the event they need to accommodate a wheelchair or other assistive device like a lift or hospital bed.
Homeowners want pantries so they can easily access their dry goods, canned goods and other kitchen items easily. Pantries can replace several cabinets that might be difficult to reach for. Having your items in the pantry also make them easier to find, organize and access. Fewer cabinets can mean more windows which means more natural sunlight in the kitchen.
Homeowners don't want to fuss with maintenance, they want a home that is current and up to date. Today's new homes are built with materials and appliances that are meant to last longer than homes built just 10 or 20 years ago. Smart home features can help in this area. A fridge that sends a text to your phone when it needs service is an extremely handy feature to have when you get older.
Smart Home Features
Smart home features are being built into every new home these days. Whether it's a security system, sound system or you've got your whole home wired into your smartphone, smart home features are here to stay. They are a godsend to seniors and their adult children. From easily setting the thermostat to locking the doors with a tap of the phone, smart home features are getting better and better everyday.
Vanities with Seats
In the bathroom, our senior homeowners want to sit down while getting ready in the morning or before going out on the town at night. Designing a bathroom with a vanity that has an open space to sit where your knees can go under the vanity has been in high demand recently.
These are just a few of the newest developments in aging-in-place design we've been building for our St. Louis customers, and they are bound to change as technology changes and the population gets older. What aging in place features would you like to see in a new home in St. Louis, MO?