Home with Dean Sharp

Home with Dean Sharp

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Aging in Place 2023

Boy communicating with grandfather at porch

Photo: Getty Images

Aging in Place 2023 - aka “Universal Design” or “Inclusive Design”

Whether you’re planning on aging in place yourself or just considering resale value, EVERYONE should be thinking about UNIVERSAL DESIGN for their home. The coolest thing about it …It’s exactly what every sexy 21st smart home SHOULD be anyway!

The NEW Aging in Place STATS:

  • 94 percent of older adults said they plan to age in their own home, even as health needs change.
  • Technology advancements are becoming key tools in a home care plan.
  • Seniors are the new EARLY ADOPTERS - Surveys show that seniors are learning to embrace technology more than ever before. 1 in 4 seniors say they feel more comfortable using new technology than they did just one year ago.
  • A balance between high-tech solutions and human interaction is the key.

Aging in Place - Room by Room

1. Entering the home

  • Ramps with gradual incline integrated into front landscape design
  • Covered porch providing protection from the elements.
  • Smart house controlled porch light and entry lights.
  • Video doorbell and mailbox.
  • Biometric locks and lever-style hardware. Round knobs are worst. Eggs better. Thumb lever is “ok”
  • 36-42 inch wide entry door with a half inch beveled door threshold.
  • 5’ x 5’ foot clear area inside and outside the entry door
Elevator in luxury villa

Photo: Getty Images

2. General

  • Single floor living or multi-story with elevator
  • Elevators
    • price point has really become achievable - elevators are appliances
    • pneumatic retrofit or build a shaft for hydraulic or traction
    • equipment pits - 12”-3”, above shaft - 24”
    • size for two people
    • pass-thru design is optimal
  • All hallways are min. 48 inches wide
  • All interior doors and passageways accessing a major room are 36 inches wide
  • All interior doors called out to have levered handles.
  • Smart smoke detectors that don’t require manual cancel on a step-ladder
  • Fire sprinklers
  • Smart Security
  • Voice control or remote controlled thermostats
  • Contrast baseboards and casing with walls for better depth perception
  • Passive algorithmic monitoring
  • Back-up power
  • Solar for energy savings on limited incomes

3. Primary Bath

  • One lavatory sink countertop lowered and open underneath for assisted mobility
  • Large curbless walk-in shower
  • Glass shower enclosure can be removed and replaced with a curtain for easier transfer to a shower seat - again, not a compromise - curtains are cool
  • Soaking tub set into a platform allowing one to sit and rotate into the tub vs. stepping into the tub
  • Comfort height toilet seats (17 inches vs. standard 15 inches)
  • Structural backing called out on drawings for future grab bar locations
  • Bidet seats

4. Primary Bedroom

  • Great lighting
  • Voice control
  • Pet ramp

5. Kitchen

  • Built-in oven at countertop height for easier food transfer
  • Microwave drawer in lower cabinet for easier food transfer
  • Induction cooktop minimize accidental burns, reduce fire risk and turn off automatically when left unattended.
  • Sink and cooktop can be retrofitted to be open underneath for assisted mobility
  • Roll-out shelves in pantry and lower cabinets
  • All cabinet hardware called out is easy-to-grip handles
  • Aerosol fire extinguishers close at hand
  • FireAvert and CookStop - emergency fire protection

6. Garage

  • Garage large enough to accommodate accessible ramp
  • Garage ceiling height allows for retrofitting to a 9 foot height garage door for accessible van with a higher than normal cab
  • Well planned storage access - Versa Lift
An attractive senior woman with a toddler boy planting flowers outdoors in summer.

Photo: Getty Images

8. Rear Yard

  • Ditto to front entry conditions
  • Build a garden worthy of getting into! Don’t isolate in the house!

9. SPECIAL NEEDS - Creating environments that are supportive but still offer challenges

  • Persons with dementia may need visual cues - Reminder Rosie … your voice! - https://smpltec.com/rosie-2-2
  • Reducing fall risk while maintaining independence

10. General Aids and Good Ideas

  • Environments are not inherently good or bad - it depends on the abilities of older adults
  • Social Media and Remote Video: Zoom and Facebook have become important ways to help older adults stay connected with loved ones and friends.
  • Wearables with GPS Capabilities: These smart watches from Apple, Garmin, FitBit and many others, can often track heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature. They can also track an aging loved one’s location and will alert 911 if there is a fall.
  • Online Grocery Delivery: This service helps limit worries about falling when out and about, as the groceries are brought right to the customer’s door. Delivery also comes in handy if inclement weather or sickness keeps an aging adult home.
  • Telehealth: When health questions arise, it’s easy to schedule a medical appointment via computer or smart phone. Telehealth has several advantages, including cost savings, convenience, and the ability to provide care to older adults with mobility limitations, or those without easy access to a local doctor or clinic.
  • Med Minder monitored medication dispenser - https://www.medminder.com/
  • Reminder Rosie - your voice! - https://smpltec.com/rosie-2-2
  • Emergency buttons - https://www.lifeline.com, https://www.lifealert.com/
  • Grand Care suite - https://www.grandcare.com/

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