Custom Home Building for Adult Living
Building a Custom Home for the Empty
By Mark J. Donovan
As the last of
your children head off to college you may be contemplating downsizing your
home. Numerous empty nesters seek adult living condominiums, however there
are many others who decide that it is finally time to the build the custom
home of their dreams.
contemplating building a custom home in your later adult life it is
important that you think of your health situation 10 and 20 years down the
road and not just present day. You may be in excellent health today, but
unfortunately father time has a way of catching up with all of us. In
addition, unlike our younger years, older adults have a tendency not to move
To these points, it
is wise when deciding upon a custom home building project that you consider a
number of factors when specifying your new home and floorplan.
First and foremost
in adult living design considerations, for a custom home building, are the
number of floors in the home. For many of us, our knees are the first to give
out in later years. Consequently a single story home design is frequently a
better choice for senior adults.
If you prefer the
space however and still desire a two story home, you alternatively may want to
consider having the master bedroom on the first floor.
If you do decide on
a second floor, make sure the stairway has wide steps and handrails and that
no-slip material is applied to the treads. In addition, make sure the stairway
width could eventually support an elevator seat system. Falls are a frequent
occurrence with older adults.
Another area of
consideration is hallway and interior door widths. Frequently hallways and
interior doors are designed too narrowly to support wheel chairs. Consequently,
you may want to consider making hallway and door widths 36” wide to accommodate
these types of healthcare products.
Door Knobs vs
Door knobs can also
be difficult to operate for those who have arthritis. Door handles are a much
better alternative for seniors as they require less motor skills to turn.
In the kitchen
there are a number of ideas that can be helpful for seniors. Again, to
accommodate wheelchairs, countertops (or a portion of them) should extend out
far enough over cabinets so that a wheelchair can slide under it. In addition,
countertops should be lowered a couple inches below standard height levels.
Also, consider using cabinet shelves that roll/slide out to prevent frequent
In the bathroom,
design tub and shower areas with support hand rails to aid getting into and out
of them. Also considering purchasing shower/tub units with built in seats. If
you have plans for a custom built shower unit, then consider a seat or bench in
the design of it. When choosing shower heads, select ones with flexible hoses
that reach the seat/bench area. And with any shower/tub unit always make sure
it has a non-slip surface.
Also in the
bathroom, consider installing a closet with plenty of shelving to enable
towels and toiletries to be easily stored and utilized. Avoid storage
underneath the sink as it can be difficult to reach as a senior adult.
another consideration. You may want to install track lighting in a hallway
that can light up large, long swaths of space with just the flick of a
single switch. You may also want to consider installing sound activated
lights throughout the open (Clap-on type products).
Hobby Rooms /
In addition to the
above safety/health considerations, custom home building for adult living should
also include features that you have always wanted in a home but never had the
resources to include. Many adults have hobbies that they have pursued as time
permitted in their younger years. As older adults, free from the work and care
of children, we frequently have time and desire to expand on our hobbies.
Consider in your custom home floorplan space or rooms for your hobbies. If
painting is your thing, then include a loft space where you can store your
paints and easels, and paint. If playing the piano is your hobby, then design a
music room that can support your grand piano.
Your senior adult
years should be the time for you to relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor and
home. When deciding on building a custom home for your retirement years look at
both your present and possible future health situations and plan accordingly.
Make you custom home functional so that you can maintain your independence and
your quality of life for as long as possible. The ideas suggested in this
article can help do this so discuss these ideas with your architect as you build
your next dream home.
For more help on building a new custom home, see HomeAdditionPlus.com's
Construction Bid Sheet.
New Home Construction Bid Sheet
provides you with the knowledge on how to plan a custom home building project,
and what to look for when hiring contractors for your new home construction. It
also includes a detailed cost breakdown table and spreadsheet for estimating
your own new home construction building costs.
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