Considerations for Adaptability and Aging in Place
- If possible use light fixtures which can be fitted with brighter bulbs (this is not possible with certain types of energy efficient lighting).
- Avoid knobs; use lever-type door handles and D-type drawer pulls
- As people age, their ability to keep warm diminishes; install extra heater/ heat control in bathrooms
- Install 16mm plywood backing for grab bar support at any wall location in bathrooms (stud construction). Provide tub with seat and adjustable hand-held shower.
- Provide lockable drawer for medications in addition to standard medicine cabinet
- In kitchen, provide wide, fully suspended, deep drawers and lazy-susans at corners instead of, or within, regular base cabinets. Mount upper cabinets on tracks for adjustability or install adjustable shelves above countertop. Provide work surfaces at different heights.
- Provide knee space under the sink (to use with stool)
Sunrooms provide extra adaptable space for play, office, nursery, dining or guests
- Place light switches lower
- Ensure that a scooter or wheelchair can move freely around in suites. Provide 600mm space adjacent to main entrance doors (the space could be used for a small table)
- Window sills should be lower (750mm); provide rail or window mullion at 1100mm at above-grade locations
- Apartments with equal sized bedrooms allow for sharing by unrelated individuals, if
remote from each other allow for a higher degree of independent living,
- Townhouses with higher ground floors, or split levels allow for larger basement windows providing the option of future finished additional space. Provide secondary service entrance from exterior
- Roofs with slopes of greater than 5/ 12 common framed allow for the possibility of usable attic space
- Accurate control over humidity is very desirable when housing seniors
- Provide extra-large storage rooms with electrical outlet and mechanical ventilation for scooter and electric wheelchair storage/ recharging. If possible, provide a window and electric plugs in the main storage space to allow for use as a nursery or an office
- When designing for seniors, consider a separate soft-water system for water that is used for washing (separate from drinking-water system)
- Choose light colours for walls and other surfaces throughout the suite, and the building
- Ensure that elevator doors remain open a minimum of 3 seconds