A home is a place to go to relax, to unwind and to feel safe. Though a home feels constant and unchangeable, the needs of the people living in a multi-generational home is different.
Think about it – if you are in your 20’s, you probably wouldn’t notice a greasy doorknob or wouldn’t bother about a doorstep, but if you have arthritic knees and fingers, stepping into another room that has a step or getting a grip on the doorknob can be a dreadful task. A truly multi-generational home should accommodate all of these needs, otherwise a home to one generation can turn into a confinement space for another.
There are some key design ideas that you can implement in your home – these universal design ideas cater to the changing needs of the occupants. You can either decide on renovating your home to incorporate those adjustments or build a granny flat to accommodate the needs of an elder generation. Both are good options if the decision is to age in place – a granny flat however, can offer more privacy and independence.
All of our granny flat designs have universal design features incorporated into them – because the whole idea of building a granny flat is to age in place and if the granny flat doesn’t take into account a person’s changing needs, then it does not make for a comfortable home.
Whether you decide to renovate or build a granny flat, these are some ideas to ensure your home is multi-generational:
Same level: Ensure all the rooms in your house are at the same level i.e., no doorsteps or threshold. It can cause severe pains to step up or down for people with arthritis. Access from the parking to the house and other external areas also must be on the same level or built to make access as easy as possible.
Safe floors: Slip-resistant flooring is extremely important. Trips and slips can be dangerous – sometimes a slip (even if not a fall), can cause sprains or tears that can be hard to heal!
Easy to handle and access: Doorknobs can be a huge nuisance if the elderly with arthritis or weak wrists are trying to open them. Replace them with something friendlier – like a lever style handle. Lever-style taps and faucets are also easy to handle. Light switches and plug points must also be kept at a height that is easy to reach.
Easy to move around: Ensure doorways and passages are spacious. If your family members use walkers or aids to move around, narrow doorways and passages can be annoying and hazardous. Also add grab rails as needed throughout, especially in bathrooms and toilets.
Sufficient lighting: Most of the times, we do not think about the lighting in our homes. Dim orange-yellow lights are soothing we agree, but think of older people who may have fading eyesight. They need a bit more lighting to be able to see things easily.
These are design features that can be easily incorporated to make a house a truly multi-generational home. If you have any questions on universal design or would like to modify your home or build a granny flat, you can ring us on 08 9284 7778.