Wednesday, March 2, 2011

GETTING READY FOR THE AGING-IN-PLACE CROWD

Baby Boomers are looking for their next and probably final home.  If a modular home factory is to meet the demand for the Aging-In-Place crowd, they must start looking at what goes into the Boomer's wish list.


Will any factory actually offer these items in the near future?  We boomers can only hopeMost of the things mentioned below are not new to the factory but the one about making the steps deeper might prove once and for all that the Aging-In-Place crowd should stay on one floor.

  • Widen doorways and hallways.  Passageways and doorways should be at least 36 inches wide to allow wheelchairs to pass through and maneuver.
  • Raise the dishwasher. Kitchen design is one of the most essential aspects of a properly designed aging-in-place home.  In addition to lowering counter tops and cooking surfaces to accommodate people in wheelchairs, the dishwasher should be raised about 10 inches higher than it sits in typical kitchens by refitting a tall oven cabinet.
  • Cabinetry needs to come to you.  Adding sliding shelves and lazy Susans in your cabinets make tracking down pot lids and cooking easier.
  • Attach hand railings to both sides of stairs, to ensure safe travel in either direction.
  • Be certain steps are deep enough to accommodate a walker. The top edge of every step should get a 2-inch strip of white, gritty paint (or nonskid white tape, if it's carpet) to aid visibility.  This is something new for the modular home factory.  They must design homes with deeper steps and that is not easy.
  • Use non-slip flooring tiles in the bathroom and other wet areas to prevent falls from slipping when feet are wet.
  • Place easy-to-grasp handles and pulls on all cabinets and drawers, to make them easier for arthritic hands to open and close.
  • Use lever-style handles on all doors.
  • Raise electrical outlets to a height of 24 inches
  • Install a barrier-free shower in your bathroom, which doesn't require stepping up into the shower.

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