Tip

Age in place

Timber Home Living - - Contents -

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.

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