Ninety percent of the US population claims they want to stay in their homes “indefinitely.” Interior designers call this “aging in place” (AIP). However, “livable design or “designing for wellness” may be more palatable to most of us!
AIP is a design that accommodates almost any physical condition safely and comfortably, allowing people to remain in their home as long as possible. Unfortunately, most homes are not designed to accommodate the needs of people over the age of 65. A Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) interior designer will recommend design options that provide beauty and safety for an aging population while also benefiting families with young children. Design for today with tomorrow in mind!
Designing for wellness is often referred to as the “new definition of luxury.” If you are planning a renovation, consider increasing your hallway width to a minimum of 32”, so that a wheelchair or a stroller will easily fit through. Flush thresholds ensure easy transition from one room to the next. Slip-resistant flooring adds another layer of safety.
Details like a firmer 19” seat cushion and arms that are 25” make it easier to rise out of your seat. This is important to your 90-year-old grandmother as well as the pregnant mother in her last trimester. Soft performance upholstery fabrics are now available that are stain, fade and liquid resistant. Making these decisions at the project’s inception will not significantly impact the costs.
The accessories closet pictured incorporates several AIP principles. Details like base cabinets with roll-out shelving make it easier to access contents than reaching into a dark cabinet. “Invisible” pulls are more functional for arthritic hands. Glass-front cabinet doors that are well lit along with a non-glare matte finish on the cabinetry accommodate aging eyesight. The floating cabinetry, raised 20” off the floor, not only makes the space feel larger but accommodates the possibility of a wheelchair or walker. A turning radius of 5’ does the same.
Everyone, regardless of age, can enjoy increased safety and comfort with home design that incorporates a thoughtful, functional environment. When considering your next remodel or renovation, be sure to speak to a design professional who can advise you on “designing for wellness!”
Wellness Design Tips
1. 5’ turning radius in any space
2. Lightweight pieces can be moved as needed
3. Low maintenance finishes
Everyone, regardless of age, can enjoy increased safety and comfort with home design that incorporates a thoughtful, functional environment