Aging-In-Place Movement: Preparing Your Home For the Future


mature couple at the beach

Image Credit: RoyaltyFree/Corbis

A combination of medical advances, and an overall increase in both our awareness  and willingness to make healthier lifestyle choices, is causing us to live longer . We are now more aware of the changes our body goes through as it ages, and we are able to make all the necessary changes to adapt to them, while still living full, independent and very productive lives.

What if your home could age just as gracefully as you do? What if it remained safe, comfortable and fully accessible throughout all the changes in yours and your family’s lives?

The Aging-In-Place Movement seeks just that: create homes that adapt to people’s changing needs over the years and allow them to live independently, regardless of their size, age, physical condition or mobility.

Aging-In-Place incorporates the concept of  “Universal Design: The design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without adaptation or specialized design.”

For example, even if you do not need to sit to cook, what if the kitchen counters were only  high enough to allow you and  your visiting grandchild bake a batch of cookies comfortably together? Wouldn’t that be great?

Aging-In-Place maximizes the use of space and fixtures, by making them accessible and safe to all.

Whether you are someone who is still raising a family,  just sent the kids to college or has been  living by yourself for a while, it is always a good idea to start planning and executing small improvements to make sure your home will serve you just as well in the future as it does today – no matter what that future brings. It is never too early to start.

Getting Started

The first step in preparing your home for universal accessibility is to perform a quick assessment of your needs. The kitchen and the bathrooms are the main areas of concern, due to safety issues. That is where you should probably start the assessment, using these handy Bathroom Safety Checklist and Kitchen Safety Checklist found in the Designs for Independent Living Blog.The blog is kept by Andrew Robinson, a Connecticut architect and CHDA Member who is also an

You will see that some significant improvements can be performed at little or no cost. Things like clearing clutter and installing brighter lighting can make a world of difference.

If you need to perform design changes or special architectural adaptations, you will need to hire an architect or a contractor.

Hiring a Professional

Make sure the professional you are hiring is an Aging-In-Place Certified Specialist. These specialists are trained and up-to-date on the latest universal design technologies, standards, and processes, as well as Aging-In-Place Guidelines.

They will be able to work with you in finding the best design based on yours and your family’s specific needs, and your home’s peculiar configuration, and if needed, prioritize and phase the project, to give you some financial flexibility.

If you live in Connecticut, Andrew Robinson Architect is the professional you need. You can contact this Trusted CHDA Member through his page on the Connecticut Home Design Association Website.

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