In most cases the occupant will be selling the house in the not-so-distant future, so when making adjustments to the home, one must keep in mind not to reduce the home's resale value by cutting into floors and walls for plumbing. In each case we assess the most reasonable way to achieve our interior space objectives without compromising the future value of the property. Some of the relevant changes to meet senior needs can be seen as a check list as listed below.

Home Entry and Exit

  • At least one no-step entry with canopy/awning for protection
  • Walkway path with little or no slope and 36-inches wide
  • Surface to place packages on when opening the door
  • Accessible level doorbell
  • Keyless door locks operated by remote control or keypad
  • 36-inch wide door (to accommodate 32 inches width)
  • Lever-style door handles
  • Non-slip flooring in foyer
  • High/low peephole viewer
  • Ramp to doorway if required

Stairways and Vertical Access

  • Sturdy hand rails on both sides of stairways, 11/4-inch diameter
  • Contrast strips on top and bottom stairs to increase visibility
  • Color contrast between treads and risers on stairs and use of lighting
  • Stair treads are 10 to 11-inches deep, wide enough for entire foot
  • No carpet
  • Stair rise is no more than 7-inches from one step to the next
  • Multi-story homes may provide either pre-framed shaft (i.e. stacked closets) for future elevator, or stairway width must be a minimum of 4 feet to allow space for a stair lift.

Safety in the Bathroom

  • Bracing in the walls around the tub, shower, shower seat, and toilet for installing grab bars to support 250 pounds.
  • Curb-less shower with minimum of 36-inches width
  • Fold down seat in the shower
  • Hand held adjustable shower heads with 6-foot hose
  • Offset from center tub/shower controls
  • Slip-resistant flooring in bathroom and shower
  • Toilet 2.5-inches higher than standard (17 to 19-inches) with adjustable height.
  • Wall-hung sink to accommodate knee space with a panel to protect user from pipes
  • Bathtub with door for in/out ease, or a bath lift
  • Color contrast edge borders at counter tops
  • One hand toilet paper holder dispenser
  • Wheelchair maneuverable bath on main level with 60-inch turning radius or t-turn space for 36-inch by 36-inch or 30-inch by 48-inch clear space

Creating the ability to live on the Ground Floor

The ability to live on one floor is frequently cited as a reason to move from an existing home or to remodel. Trends suggest that seniors are asking for plans that include a master suite on the main floor, so “upstairs” becomes guest or other flex space. This does impact the space available for and the orientation of the kitchen and the master bath, when all of this is being fitted onto one floor.

Kitchen Modification

In the kitchen, fewer wall cabinets are key. Fortunately, design trends toward more open spaces and generous daylight have forced us to use fewer wall cabinets and the response is tremendous. With today's accessories for drawer storage of those items traditionally stored in wall cabinets, plus the use of furniture pieces in the kitchen, people are beginning to let go of wall cabinets in exchange for storage within easy reach.

Placing appliances at comfortable heights. Today, clients are asking for splitting double ovens so each might be placed at a more accessible height them. It's interesting to note that while the original reasoning behind a raised dishwasher or right-height oven was for use by a person in a wheelchair, today it is more often a benefit to a standing person who would choose not to bend.

Incorporation of all or part of these solutions will enable you or your loved ones to remain at home for a longer period of time. Our consultants can review their recommendations with you and incorporate the changes where deemed necessary.