Home Designs for the Senior MarketLand Deveopment Training
November 13, 2012 — 1,312 views
Home Designs for the Senior Market
Home designs appealing to an aging population are no longer a minor niche in home development. The U.S. Census Bureau states that as of April 1, 2010, 13% of the population were 65 and older. That translates to 40.3 million seniors. By 2050, the number of seniors is projected to be around 88.5 million, 20% of the population. So, what should developers consider when designing a home for the senior market?
Flexibility Of Room Layout/Use
Many seniors will continue to work out of their homes in a variety of businesses. Therefore, work activities and equipment indicate the need for a separate room, away from family activities. Designing multi-purpose rooms that are suitable for work or hobbies may be appealing to active seniors who have many more years of active lifestyles.
The formal dining rooms of yesteryear are giving way to the open and airy floor plans that do away with walls that separate kitchens and dining areas. Likewise, patios may be crucial for many who like to entertain or dine outdoors. Therefore, outdoor patio bars, built-in grills, fireplaces, pools and spas might be highly sought-after. Water therapy and exercise are popular with seniors, for entertainment and for health.
Some seniors will need wider doorways to accommodate wheelchairs, power chairs or walkers to safely access all of the home. Many standard sized doorways to the bathroom, walk-in closets or garage are not large enough. Larger doorways also give an impression of spaciousness, and can be more attractive than standard doors.
One Level Design
Seniors may have difficulty going in or out of a home, a garage or other area if there are steps to navigate. Fall risk decreases when steps are eliminated, or minor bevels are built into the thresholds to accommodate safe passage.
Economic Use Of Space
Seniors often appreciate space efficiency, so features such as eat-in kitchens, with accessible cupboards are helpful. Bedrooms with adjoining master baths, higher toilets and simple fixtures are reassuring.
Split Floor Plan
Seniors who need live-in care appreciate bedrooms on both ends of the home, allowing caregivers to be available, but allowing homeowners to have their privacy. Overnight guests might also feel less underfoot with separate bedrooms and baths.
Improved Light Sources
Skylights help seniors see better in the daytime without having to turn on the lights. Track lighting or floodlights in certain areas also can be helpful.