everyone deserves choices in beautiful, accessible living environments
Many of our home remodel clients, especially empty nesters and those nearing retirement, often ask us how they can make their homes more accessible. Seniors generally want to remain in their homes, taking comfort in the familiar surroundings of their community. Those who live with physical or cognitive illness or who have unexpectedly found themselves with a disability deserve choices in beautiful, accessible living environments.
The truth is most people would rather live in their own home as they age than go to an assisted living facility.
But as the majority of homes are built for younger families, they are not designed for comfortable, barrier-free living for those growing older or with physical difficulties. Homes generally do not have features such as wide doorways, a walk-in shower without curbs, level entries, and door levers instead of knobs which make living spaces accessible.
assessment, design, and installation services
hpd architecture + interiors provide assessment, design, and installation services for assisted living to show individuals how they can:
- Adapt their home for current and future needs
- Maintain or improve their independence and lifestyle
- Improve the safety of their home
- Create more comfortable and beautiful living spaces
We guide clients through conversations about accessibility by asking key questions, such as, how long a client intends to stay in his or her current home. For clients who don’t plan to sell their homes for the foreseeable future, accessibility can be part of a larger remodeling plan. Alternatively, creating an accessible home in the right neighborhood could be a smart resale strategy because homes catering to older buyers are in high demand.
The adjustments need not be major ones to improve accessibility. They could simply be small fixes to enhance the safety and comfort, both inside and out.
making interiors accessible
For the inside of a home, one of the first things we consider is whether or not level changes exist between rooms and floors. For example, one architectural trend about 40 years ago was to make family rooms sunken so that residents and guests needed to step down into it. This feature presents an obvious hazard and when possible we recommend building up the floor on the lower level to match the floor level of the surrounding areas.
The same is true for flooring surfaces. If uneven transitions exist between carpeted areas to tile or hardwood floors, we redesign walking surfaces so no tripping or slipping hazards exist.
We also look for ways to make doors and cabinets easier to open. A simple way to make adjustments is to install different door hardware so that people with arthritis can grip and open them more easily.
Bathroom areas are also important spaces to consider. When feasible, we recommend widening doorways and changing the shower threshold to be flush with the floor to allow for smooth entrance. Grab bars are an easy addition to increase safety and reduce slip and fall accidents. Fortunately, in the last few years, product manufacturers have answered the call for more attractive grab bars and other assistive devices that more easily blend into a residential setting.
adding functionality and beauty to exteriors
hpd architecture + interiors also help homeowners evaluate home exteriors. A daily trip to the mailbox and to get the newspaper may seem simple, but can be hazardous to a homeowner living with balance or vision challenges. Creating an entryway and front walk that people on foot and in wheelchairs can access is important, as is making sure all pathways are well lit and all flooring areas are covered in slip-resistant materials.
Maintaining access to favorite outdoor activities for older homeowners is critical to their enjoyment and wellbeing. For instance, we work with clients who enjoy gardening, swimming in their pool and using their patios to entertain. We personalize the height and ease of access to these activities so they can continue to be part of their everyday routine.
safety and independence are a family affair
Grown children of older homeowners often inquire about technology that can help their parents enjoy their independence, but also allow for safeguards to be put in place should their loved one need assistance.
For example, video monitoring, motion detectors, wireless sensors on doors and appliances, and remote access to home security systems via smartphones are all tools that can provide peace of mind to those who need to keep tabs on their parent’s activities.
An accessible home can still be as beautiful as a traditionally designed one. At hpd architecture + interiors, we believe that form and function can merge into an aesthetic whole that radiates warmth and comfort for years to come. Let us help you with your accessible home planning needs. Contact us today!