“What does aging in place mean?” is a question we get asked a lot. We hope this helps you gain a little better understanding of it.
Aging in place is a big idea; one that is just now beginning to really take hold in the United States. So, If you’ve been wondering what it really means, you’re in the right place.
What does aging in place mean?
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, aging in place is “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.”
In theory, aging in place means the same thing for everyone (in terms of the goal). But, what it takes to accomplish it can be vastly different for each person. Because, each person’s situation can be different.
What it takes to age in place goes beyond a house, although that is the part that we will focus on here. Specifically, what does aging in place mean in terms of your house?
Home remodeling for aging in place
The three main goals of aging in place are safety, independence and comfort. The main goal with remodeling your home is to help you accomplish anything you need to in your home for daily living. There are key areas to focus on in your home to do that.
Main floor living
The best situation for you to achieve to help you age in place is called “main floor living”. Which, just means you have everything you need for daily life on one floor of your home and that floor you can easily get in and out of.
Those rooms include a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and laundry. As well as, a least one entrance that is accessible. We will briefly discuss each of these areas.
Aging in place is “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.” – U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
At least one full bathroom should be located on the main level of the home. Some areas of importance to accomplish our three goals of safety, independence and comfort include:
- Shower area
- Wider doorway
- Open space
Specifically, that each one of these areas are easy to get to, provide safety features (such as grab bars, no-step shower entries, shower seats, etc.) and you have ample area to get into and move around in the bathroom.
At least one bedroom should be located on the main level of the home, preferably attached to or very near the bathroom. Some areas of importance include:
- Space to move around safely
- Adequate lighting
- Access to clothing and closets/storage
- Easy access into/out of the room
The kitchen should be on the main floor of the home. And, the kitchen should have the features a person needs to prepare food for themselves or family members. Some areas of importance include:
- Proper counter heights
- Access to appliances, counters and storage
- Accessible sinks
- Easily used appliances, storage and fixtures
- Sufficient room for moving around in the kitchen
The laundry area should be on the main floor of the home and should make it easy for you to do laundry chores. Some areas of importance include:
- Easy access into the laundry area
- Accessible appliances and storage
- Easy-to-use appliances
- Work areas
- Space to move around
At least one entrance on the main floor of your home should be accessible. What that means is that you can get to that entrance easily, without having to climb stairs. And, that you can step into your home without having to step up and/or over into your home. (Typically called a “no-step” entry.)
There has been a lot of speculation and opinion about what aging in place is and how you can achieve it from experts and media.
Regardless of what you think about how to achieve it, I think we can all agree it’s something we all would want to aspire to.
Outlined above are some of the basic ideas of how to make your home work for you later in life. If you or someone you care about needs help to make this a reality in the greater Cincinnati area, we are here to help.
Jeff DeVol is a Certified Aging in Place Specialist, and is highly qualified and experienced in Universal Design and accessible remodeling.