Aging in Place: Designing a Comfortable & Accessible Home

Aging in Place: Designing a Comfortable & Accessible Home

Aging at‌ home is increasingly popular as seniors ⁢want to maintain independence‌ and ⁣remain ​active‌ in the ‍communities. ⁣To do so, ‍it is important to design an accessible and comfortable home that meets the​ individual needs of ​seniors.​ This article will provide helpful information for creating a ​safe environment that allows seniors to age ⁤safely ⁣in​ place.

I. Benefits of Aging ‍in​ Place

As ‌the⁢ baby boomer ‌generation starts‌ to get‍ older, many South‌ Africans are opting to age in place – ⁣or stay in ⁣their‍ own homes​ and communities – rather than ⁤move to senior care ​facilities.​ There⁤ are a few key reasons why this ⁢is the case. ‌‌

  • More affordable – Despite⁣ the ⁣availability of high-end and specialised facilities, ⁤aged⁤ care options can be expensive for many South Africans. Living in their own homes gives people the opportunity​ to​ use their funds in other ways.
  • Preserving independence – ⁢Aging in place gives seniors the opportunity‌ to maintain‌ their independence and⁣ autonomy for a longer⁣ period of time.
  • Fewer restrictions ⁣– In many instances, aging ‌in place‍ could mean fewer restrictions⁣ on what seniors can do ​or where they⁤ can⁣ go.​ This⁤ could‍ be especially​ beneficial ⁣for those‍ who ⁢enjoy regular family ‍visits⁢ or ⁢outings.

Aging in place for⁢ South African ⁣seniors has its⁤ own unique challenges but with proper ⁣planning and​ organised resources it can be ‌done⁣ in ⁣a manner that provides⁤ elderly individuals with a ‌sense of comfort and dignity. ⁣

II. Challenges to Consider ⁤When ​Designing an Accessible Home

When ⁢designing a home with accessibility ‌in⁤ mind,‌ there are a few challenges to keep in ‍mind. In South Africa, the⁢ key consideration⁣ is the​ South African National Standard (SANS) 10400 Part⁢ XA. This‌ legislation requires building designs to integrate features designed ‍to support person with disabilities, such ​as:

  • Adequate width corridors and door openings
  • Ramps⁢ where ‌there are staircases
  • Floor⁤ surfaces with a low Risk of ‌slipping
  • Handrails
  • Adequate ​light and ventilation, where possible

It‍ can also be challenging to find ⁢a balance between adequate ⁢accessibility‍ for people with​ disabilities and aesthetically ⁢pleasing ⁣design. For example,⁣ ramps or stair handrails may need to be installed on an exterior building, and⁢ may need to match in⁢ style ‌with existing features. Bespoke solutions from a builder or ​designer may be required‍ at‍ additional cost, while also ensuring existing building‌ regulations are met. ​

When considering aesthetics, use ⁣of light ⁤colours is‍ recommended, both for safety and to help visually ⁤impaired people navigate the⁤ building with ease. Keeping⁣ pathways, staircases, landings and‌ doorways uncluttered and ‌well lit can also help with navigation.

III. ‌Strategies ‌for Creating a Comfortable and Accessible Home

An accessible and comfortable house can be made in many different ways and it depends on⁢ what is ‍important ⁢to the individual ⁤and⁣ their ⁣lifestyle. Here are ⁢some strategies​ for ​creating ‌a welcoming home that ‌is accessible for all:

  • Check ⁣the Layout: ⁣An ideal ⁢house has a comfortable and inviting ⁤layout. Make sure all areas of‌ the house are⁣ easily accessible and that⁢ no ‌area is too difficult ⁢to⁤ reach. Consider​ any physical barriers or mobile ‍equipment that needs to ‌be kept in ​easy reach, and create enough space‌ to move from one ‍area to⁣ another without any obstacles.
  • Make ‍it Accessible: ⁢No⁢ home should have any barriers that stop anyone from fully enjoying the space. Consider ‌any alterations that can be made to‌ ensure ‍everyone can enter ⁤and move around the house safely. This ⁢includes ‌adding ramps at entrances,​ widening doorways and fitting handrails.
  • Choose the Best Furniture: Choose furniture that makes ⁤the home comfortable and accessible.​ Invest in ⁢furniture that is easy‍ to move ⁢and arrange, ⁣and fits the⁣ style ​of ⁤the house. ‌Before purchasing furniture, check the⁣ size ‍of the room and the size ‌of the ⁤furniture to make⁢ sure it is​ a good fit.

By following these steps for creating a safe and‌ comfortable home, you⁤ will‌ ensure ⁣that everyone ‌can enjoy​ the house to‍ its‌ fullest. Not ‍only‌ will these strategies ‍help create ⁢a welcoming atmosphere, it will also help everyone feel relaxed and secure ​in⁢ their ⁢home.


Q: What is “aging in place”?
A:‌ Aging ​in place ‍is the term ​used to ‌describe old adults living in their own homes or apartments, as opposed ‌to ​moving to‍ a dedicated ⁣retirement home ​or⁤ assisted living‍ facility. ⁤It has become more popular in recent years, as many seniors wish ​to remain in familiar ⁣surroundings ⁤and maintain their sense of independence.

Q: What are some⁤ of the advantages of aging in place?
A: Aging in ⁢place can bring ‌many advantages.‍ Not only does it allow older adults to remain in familiar surroundings, but it also ‌provides them ⁤with increased ​independence and autonomy, ⁣as well as the opportunity ⁣to maintain their social networks.

Q: What design considerations should ⁢be taken‌ into⁢ account‌ when aging⁢ in place?
A: Designing ⁢the home for aging in place includes⁤ making appropriate modifications ‍to ensure a ‌safe⁢ and comfortable⁣ home environment.⁣ Common changes include installing grab bars, widening doorways for wheelchair access, non-slip flooring, and installing ‌features ‍to make‍ home tasks easier such as stair lifts or ⁢reach extenders.​


Making specific accommodations to​ an‍ existing home for ​aging⁤ in ​place ‍is a great way to ensure comfort and safety ‍for⁢ you or your loved ⁤ones. With the right planning ⁤and design, it’s ‌possible⁣ to create an aesthetically pleasing home that is also functional ⁢and fully equipped to meet your needs -⁤ regardless of age. What’s more, by investing ‌in design modifications for ​comfort and accessibility, you’ll be preparing your⁤ home for‌ the ⁤future, while⁢ also having the resources ​and ​time to remain independent. ‍

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