Post details: Senior-Friendly Homes

02/16/05

Permalink 10:37:18 am, Categories: Articles, 289 words   English (US)

Senior-Friendly Homes


Making your home accessible for seniors is easier than you might think.

Senior-Friendly HomesQ. I'm planning to remodel and enlarge a small bathroom, and I'd like it to meet the needs of a senior who wishes to continue living in the home. How should I plan adequately for wheelchair usage, accessible bathing, and other needs?
--Mary

A. One of the fastest-growing areas of the remodeling market is modifying houses to accommodate homeowners who wish to remain in their homes throughout their lives. This focus on "aging in place" has prompted The National Association of Home Builders to create a certification program for Certified Aging in Place Specialists. While you won't find many remodeling professionals who have earned this new certification yet, you should ask potential remodelers about their experience in building spaces for owners with special needs.

Remodelers can provide comprehensive spec sheets for accessible rooms, and you can learn more on your own by searching the Web for "aging in place" or "universal design."

Listed below are some general points to keep in mind for a bathroom.

- Thirty-six-inch-wide doorways provide the best access, and a 36-x-36-inch open space in the bathroom lets wheelchair and walker users turn around.
- Lever handles on faucets are easier to use than knobs.
- An anti-scald device on faucets prevents accidents with hot water.
- Showers with low thresholds and fold-down seats make bathing easier for people with limited mobility.
- Roll-under cabinetry designs give wheelchair users better access to the sink.
- A raised toilet (standing 17-18 inches high rather than the usual 14-15) is easier to use for people with leg or back pain.
- A telephone in the bathroom can be a lifesaver in case of an accident.

Better Homes and Gardens

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