Age in place
NO MATTER WHEN YOU BUILD YOUR TIMBER HOME, it makes sense to incorporate smart universal design elements into your plan. Even if you only choose a few, these five tips from the AARP (aarp.org) will boost your home’s functionality now and in the future.
As you age, measurements matter more, so make sure you’ve
planned spaces accordingly. Entryway doors should be at least 36 inches wide, while interior door widths can range from 34 to 36 inches. Hallways should measure 42 inches across at a minimum.
Think ahead when you’re designing your home’s layout. By positioning at least one bedroom and one full bath on the main level of your home, you’re setting yourself up for easier access in the future. Think about placing your washer and dryer near your master suite, too, to make it less strenuous to haul laundry from one place to the other. For your home’s main living area, you should have at least one 3-footwide corridor that’s free of steps and other hazards to connect those spaces.
Lighting is an easy, yet often overlooked, way to make your
home more accessible. To ease the stress on aging eyes, use the maximum wattage allowed in all of your lamps and lighting fixtures, or at least opt for a dimmer system that you can adjust as needed. Also, bump up the natural lighting in your home by keeping windows free of shades and curtains during the day. Lastly, make sure that all light controls, as well as electrical outlets and thermostats, are easily reachable from a seated position. Replacing handles and hardware is an easy, cost-conscience way to make your home age more gracefully. Instead of choosing knobs that require twisting, choose lever-style models for your door handles and faucets, which will make them easier to operate over the years. For your cabinets, think about installing slide-out shelves for easy access and replacing hard-to-grasp knobs with U-shaped handles.
To enter the home, think about incorporating at least one no-step
entry (right). This entryway can lead to either the front, back or garage door. If you decide to forgo this type of entry, at a minimum, install handrails or railings on any exterior stairways.
TOP, ABOVE, RIGHT: Designed for full wheelchair accessibility, this 3,600-squarefoot barn-style home features a main-level master suite, easy-to-use bathrooms and wide doorways, and a front ramp. Other features include an elevator and a kitchen packed with universal design elements.