Independent Living and Accessible Housing

Conversations with older homeowners, says TV personality and building contractor Mike Holmes, all have the same theme in common:  they tell him they want to maintain their independence. Independence starts and ends with living in their own homes, he says, in the National Post. Here is an excerpt from his article:

 It starts right at the front door. All doors and entrances need to be wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers. I like them to be 36 inches (91 centimetres) wide because it allows for greater manoeuvrability, and a good turning radius. For interior entrances, I love using pocket doors if I have the room.

 Kitchen design is of the utmost importance. Countertops, shelves, and appliances low enough for everyone to cook safely is key. I love having a movable kitchen island as well, which can give you extra floor space as needed while still providing a nice centre point to the room.

 Many older bathrooms tend to be eight-by-five feet (2.4-by-1.5 metres), and that just doesn’t work for people with mobility devices. Ask your contractor if it’s possible to expand the space if it’s currently too small, by cutting into the room next door. If nowhere else, the bathroom is the one room in the home I’d recommend a pocket door most of all.

 The most important way to make a bedroom accessible is to have one on the main level of the home. If you’re planning to stay in your multi-level house, find a space that can be converted into a bedroom in the future.

 Read the full article in the National Post here.