Aging in place bathroom cabinet with programmable night light by Robern

Bathroom Cabinet with Programmable Night light, by Robern, A Kohler Company

Did you know that every year, one-third of all adults over the age of 65 will experience a fall, and 2.5 million of them will visit an emergency room as a result of that incident? While it’s impossible to prevent every accident, the way you design your home and the remodeling or renovation projects you undertake can play an essential role in making your home safer for you and more desirable for Baby Boomers who may want to purchase it in the future.

According to the June issue ofRemodeling magazine, one of the most desirable features Baby Boomers look for in homes is a full bath on the first floor. A whopping 83% of respondents said that was essential, yet almost 25% of homeowners age 55 and better lacked this basic feature in their current homes. So whether you are building a new home from scratch or looking to update your current residence, a first floor master suite is always a solid investment in both your comfort and your resale value.

But what should you include in that master bath? Design it so that it can be wheelchair accessible if needed. That includes designing the space so that it’s wide enough to easily navigate in wheelchair; consider vanities that you could wheel under and install zero-entry showers.

When it comes to those showers, don’t neglect essentials like grab bars – or at the very least, install the proper bracing in the walls so you may add them later. Shower seating is a luxurious touch for any homeowner that becomes a necessity as you get older.

Consider flooring materials carefully. You’ll want to select tiles that are non-slip, as opposed to shiny, slick surfaces, to reduce the possibility of falls. Likewise, pay close attention to lighting. Many falls can be attributed to homeowners getting up in the middle of the night and stumbling over things in or on the way to a poorly lit bathroom. Path lighting that comes on automatically as you move through a space or nightlights that remain on can help prevent these accidents.

Coming in a close second to a main level bath were wide hallways and doors, with 83% wanting it and nearly 90% lacking it in their current homes. Building a hallway that’s 4 foot wide doesn’t take much extra effort in either time or materials on the front end, but it can make all the difference in how you live in and navigate your home in the future.

With just a small amount of planning as you build or renovate, you can ensure that your home remains a haven for years to come.