As you enter the empty-nester phase, it’s the perfect time to reevaluate your living space. In St. Louis, more and more adults are opting for “aging in place,” a decision that involves adapting your family home to fit your needs as you age, combining familiarity with functionality. This concept isn’t just about adding accessibility features; it’s about creating a safe, comfortable, and energy-efficient environment that will cater to your requirements in the years to come. Here’s how you can embrace the principles of Universal Design and other strategies to ensure your St. Louis home serves you well into your golden years.
- Embrace Universal Design: Universal Design is all about creating spaces accessible to people of all ages and abilities. For empty nesters, implementing these principles can make all the difference in comfort, safety, and longevity in your home. Consider these features:
- Wide doorways and hallways: These accommodate wheelchairs and walkers, ensuring you can move freely throughout your home.
- Lever-style handles: Replace traditional knobs with lever-style door handles and faucets, easier for hands affected by arthritis.
- Non-slip flooring and grab bars: Particularly crucial in the bathroom, these features help prevent falls, a leading cause of injury in older adults.
- The Appeal of Single-Story Living: Stairs can become a challenge as we age. Single-story homes, or those with a main floor master suite, eliminate the daily need to navigate stairs, reducing fall risks and increasing accessibility.
- Choosing Low-Maintenance Materials: As an empty nester, you want to enjoy your newfound freedom, not spend extra time on home upkeep. Low-maintenance exterior materials like brick or vinyl siding can significantly reduce the time and effort required for home care.
- Energy Efficiency for Comfort and Savings: Energy-efficient features aren’t just good for the planet; they’re also kind to your wallet. Features like double-pane windows and quality insulation can significantly reduce your utility bills, making your home more comfortable in those chilly St. Louis winters and hot summers.
- The Social Perks of Open Floor Plans: An open floor plan isn’t just modern and stylish; it’s also practical. These layouts allow for easy navigation, reduce trip hazards, and encourage social interaction. Plus, they maximize natural light, essential for maintaining a positive mood and good health.
- First-Floor Laundry for Convenience: Carrying laundry baskets up and down stairs can be hazardous. With a first-floor laundry room, you can avoid this unnecessary risk and enjoy the convenience of doing laundry on a single level.
- Ample Storage for Downsizing: Downsizing is often part of transitioning into your empty-nester years. Ample storage space is essential to organizing and keeping the belongings you choose to retain, making your space clutter-free and serene.
- Accessible Outdoor Living: Having easily accessible outdoor spaces, like a patio or deck, encourages you to spend time outside, soaking up vitamin D and enjoying nature. Ensure these areas are accessible with minimal steps and with sturdy handrails if elevation changes are necessary.
- Smart Aging-in-Place Technology: Today’s technology can make aging in place safer and more convenient. Consider smart home features like voice-activated assistants for hands-free control over home features, automated lighting, and home security systems for peace of mind.
Aging in place is more than staying in your home; it’s about ensuring your home adapts to your needs over time. By incorporating these design ideas, St. Louis empty nesters can create a living space that’s comfortable, safe, and enjoyable for years to come. Your home is your sanctuary; let’s make sure it stays that way. For professional advice on remodeling your home for aging in place, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Rapid Repair Pro, your local St. Louis experts in home adaptations.