Aging In Place Recommendations

Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist on Staff

Recognized by the National Home Builders Assoc. & the AARP

General Considerations:

  • Main living on single story
  • HVAC filters should be easily accessible
  • Breaker box mounted low enough for wheelchair use
  • Mount outlets higher from floor (18 inches)
  • Mount Switches and controls around 48 inches from floor
  • Rocker switches
  • Dimmer switches
  • Lever handled hardware
  • Use of motion sensors to turn on lights
  • Night lights (lighting that is designed to be on 24/7; above kitchen sink, in bathroom)
  • Minimum door clearance for a wheel chair is 32 inches
  • Use contrasting colors to clearly mark change in elevation
  • Non-slip flooring
  • Grab bars (can be installed anywhere in a home)
  • Secure or extend rugs
  • Anti-scald devises
  • Ramps, chair lifts, elevator to eliminate stairs
  • Low or no thresholds/transition strips
  • Create maneuvering space around doors (18 inches min.)


  • Open floor plan to increase maneuvering room
  • Pilot lights to show when burners, exhaust fan, etc. are on
  • Sound alarm or automatic shut-off for major appliances
  • Range: self-cleaning, wall ovens can be built to any height
  • Stove top: smooth for easier cleaning, can slide heavy pans instead of lifting, controls in front so you are not reaching over hot burners
  • Refrigerator: place on wall facing the most open, not in corner, preferably counter space on either side
  • Cabinets: lever style handles, roll out base cabinets, pull down wall cabinets, design base cabinets that can be removed
  • Lighting: extremely important to have ample light
    • Area Lighting: provide light where general lighting doesn’t reach (blind corners, under cabinets)
    • Task lighting; under mount lights for prep areas (mainly where chopping is done)
  • Dishwasher: beside sink on dominate hand of user, can be elevated to reduce bending over (could cause multi-level countertop)
  • Kitchen Sink: Under mount are easier to clean, anti-scald devise
  • Counter top: coved backsplashes, avoiding sharp interior corners, continuous surface without grouted joints and selecting light colors creates easier cleaning; contrasting color (accent stripe) to mark edge
  • Flooring: Seamless vinyl and cork flooring provide a wide variety and have less cleaning challenges


  • Blocking for grab bars (or for future grab bars)
  • Timer switch for exhaust fan
  • Maneuverability: roll under sink, expanding into adjacent room for more space
  • Door: wider opening, reverse door hinge (allows emergency access), second mid-door handle on inside (able to close door without having to reach main handle)
  • Tub/Shower: walk in tub, roll in shower, have a shower head mounted to flexible hose for hand use, seat for shower (folding bench seat),
  • Sink: height is key (don’t want to have to bend over too far, or lower for wheel chair use), wall mount enables user to wheel under(design removable base cabinet), single lever handle faucet, mount faucet controls within 14 inches from front, anti-scald devise
  • Toilet: 2 ½ inches taller than standard


  • Double side handrails
  • Light switches at both ends
  • More than 1 light bulb to light space (if bulb burns out still need light)
  • Night light
  • Grab bar in hallway (can be designed to be aesthetically pleasing)
  • Contrasting Color strip to mark edge of step
  • At least 36 inches wide


  • Provide ample light
  • Use 2 bulb fixture so if 1 light is out there is still light
  • Entry shelf on exterior; provides a surface for placing packages while unlocking and opening house
  • Non-slip pads on stair treads
  • Ramp (can be designed into porch/deck)


  • Well lit
  • Provide maneuvering room in or near closets

Living Space

  • Secure area rugs
  • Provide open floor plan to maximize maneuvering room
  • Little to no thresholds/transition strips
  • Floors: smooth, non-glare, slip resistant, carpeting should be low density and have firm pad, use contrasting colors to mark a change in elevation


  • Separate apartment for future caregiver (design bedroom to be mini apartment)

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