Tips on Building a Forever Home for Active Ageing

Published April 14, 2021.
Est. Reading: 4 minutes

Creating your forever home requires careful planning. There are many considerations, from the layout and budget to future proof design choices. Your Calgary custom home builder will be your go to source of expertise; so, you should use them as much as you can. They will have the knowledge and expertise to help guide you through the process, including design choices, creating a workable home for you now and into the future. Simple yet functional design choices can help older people enjoy their homes well into their golden years. In this guide we will take you through 7 top tips on building a forever home for active aging.

#1 Think Accessibility

As we age, our mobility declines so things that you take for granted now may prove much more of a challenge as you age. Ensure that the design takes into consideration the entrance and exit to the home, ensuring it is as seamless as possible. Make them at grade level. Remove steps, uneven surfaces and areas that can be difficult to navigate with mobility aids. Light switches inside the home should have a rocker panel rather than a toggle switch.

#2 Doors

Make doorways wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair. Front doors should be at least 42 inches wide and internal doors 36 inches. Use pocket or sliding doors rather than those that are push or pull to open. Incorporate mechanisms that are easy to use such as door levers over door handles. Use technology assisted doors and windows where possible.

#3 Flooring and Staircases

The floor surface should be smooth and soft, ideally made from rubber, linoleum or cork. These softer surfaces are kinder on the joints and they won’t present a hazard for trips and falls like padded carpets or those with a high pile. The floors should be level and smooth wherever possible. If level changes are needed, the use of a change in material, color or texture can help signal the transition. Avoid shiny surfaces or strong patterns because these can give a false perception of the actual depth. For staircases, make sure that they are wide enough to accommodate a stair lift and make the steps as shallow as possible and not to steep. Also make sure that there are adequate grab rails on either side to help when walking up and down.

#4 Bathrooms

The bathroom can be a dangerous place for people as they age, particularly as surfaces become slippery or there’s a bathtub to navigate around. Large, spacious walk in showers should be incorporated into your design or even a wet room. These design features will allow you to retain your independence and bathe with confidence regardless of your age or mobility. If you are building a new shower into the design of your custom home, choose one that is either walk in or no threshold. Consider incorporating a seat into the design. Also think about the installation of grab bars specifically designed to replicate a tower bar which can greatly improve mobility in the shower. Thermostatic shower controls and anti-scald water devices can also reduce the likelihood of injury.

#5 Kitchens for Active Ageing

The kitchen is the heart of the home and it’s a place where we spend a lot of our time so careful design choices are needed to ensure that the kitchen is practical and stylish while being convenient both now and into the future. As the aging process begins, standing for long periods of time can become more challenging.  Surfaces in places should be lowered to allow sitting for the preparation of meals. Consider design choices such as islands on wheels so the position can be adjusted to accommodate a walker or wheelchair if this is needed. Cabinets should be positioned lower and not in high to reach places such as over the stove.

#6 Creative Spaces

Make sure the space in your home works for you and is highly functional. These spaces could be filled with storage cupboards and other storage solutions or they could serve other practical purposes such as an entire room that doubles up as a home cinema room, a hobby studio to enjoy in retirement or a home fitness studio. The great thing about custom home builds is that they can be completely tailored to your needs, interests and requirements.

#7 Work with a Custom Calgary Home Builder

More people than ever before are working with custom home builders rather than buying an existing property. The type of custom home will depend on the goals and requirements of every homeowner. Forever homes are those where homeowners plan to stay for many years; where they can imagine themselves raising a family and growing old. It is one of the most important investments that you will make so having the right team on board from the outset is crucial. Your builder will help identify what you haven’t thought of and help you transform your dream home into a reality. When working with bespoke home builders you will want to think about the kind of place you would like to live in, who will live there and the purpose of each room. An experienced builder will help you avoid mistakes such as building a home that is too large for your older years. Explore property designs that fall in the middle ground, maybe with some extra bedrooms but not room after room of unused space. Don’t forget you can always double up having rooms serving multiple purposes over the lifespan of your home. A room that doubles up as a bedroom or a craft room or a home fitness studio is great.

If you are considering building a forever home to meet your forever needs contact Sunset Homes today.

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Too Long Didn’t Read (TLDR)

When building a custom home, always consider features to help you age in place. You should consider making the house mobility friendly such as removing thresholds and steps, eliminating difficult walkways or uneven surfaces in the backyard, and making sure that the kitchen and bathroom plans have mobility friendly designs.

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