Aging in Place: Home Design

Aging in place is a topic many New York City residents think about. A little preparation allows homes to remain safe and comfortable as circumstances and accessibility needs change.

A recent talk by a member of the AIANY Design for Aging committee at the East Side Council on the Aging highlighted a few issues from a human-centered design perspective.

Photo credit: Pixabay

Photo credit: Pixabay


Social Life

How will friends and family visit comfortably? Make a space with chairs or table that is separate from general sleeping area. Even in a small apartment, it’s possible to place two sitting chairs with a small table together to create a cozy nook for conversation and visits from loved ones.

Home Organization

Many older adults begin to think about organizing, even if the task seems overwhelming due to accumulated items over the years. Professional home organizers, such as Senior Move Management Specialists are experts at downsizing.  Frequently used items, such as cooking pans or a favorite outfit should be kept in "prime real estate" storage, within easy reach. Keep closets, bathrooms, and kitchens clear of clutter to prevent tripping hazards.

Planning for Daily Activities

Consider daily activities and plan accordingly.  What is the walk path from the bedroom to the bathroom? Is it clear of obstacles? How is the entry way designed to store mail, keys, coats, and shoes? Is there seating for putting on shoes? Lighting is a common issue-- make sure each room is bright and that light bulbs can be easily changed.

Furniture for the Long Term

Furniture is often a treasured part of a home, passed down from family or holding sentimental value; however, safety and usability should be assessed. Are the sofa and bed easy to get in and out of? Do the dining chairs have arms that allow for better balance when rising or sitting? To address budget concerns, consider sending older furniture for consignment to increase funds for new furniture.

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