No offense to Florida, really. It's a great State! But Clevelanders are 'sticky.' It's one of those high tech terms for those who own a website; we want our websites to be sticky meaning people visit our sites and then browse for more than a few seconds. Well, that's how I view the Midwest, at least here in Cleveland. Families are here so as people reach retirement age, moving to Florida or anywhere else away from our families is not always a pleasant thought. Moving to a retirement community isn't always a happy thought either. There are things you can do to your home to make it comfortable for your 'later' years.
You have a couple choices. If you are young and designing your home somewhat (new construction), have the cabinets hung lower than normal. As a short person, this idea would have even appealed to me in my twenties, being able to reach the top shelf (heck, MIDDLE shelf!) of kitchen cabinets. Even tall people can work with cabinets that are lower! Resale value? Terrific.
Found a really helpful article on the Professional Remodeler'swebsite. This is one of their tips that would have never occurred to me: If you are working with a builder on a new construction home and it is multi-story? Have them put two closets, one on each floor, over each other. This way, someone else or even you a few decades down the road, can take out the closets and add an elevator! I would add this: even if you do not have a first floor bedroom (in your new construction home), you could have a linen closet or coat closet on the first floor and a bedroom closet above it. I loved this idea!
The article talks about adaptable or universal designed homes and the above suggestions fall into that category. You can go to the AARP site here for a list of people called Certified Aging In Place Specialists.
Those elegant glam baths that are so popular now. I'm thinking they can be designed without a 'lip' that requires you lift your feet to enter. I've seen some of these, lined in gorgeous marble, etc, and they use an incline with a drain nearby, or alternatively, you walk in and turn a bit (granted, you need more room for this design), and you are in the shower area with a huge drain. This would make it easy to access in a wheelchair, in addition to being safer for someone who needs to not 'step up' to enter a shower area. Grab bars etc can always be added later if you think they are just not sexy enough for your family now. But the Professional Home Re-modelers pointed out that, like anything else, if it's built in when you originally build it, the additional costs are less than if you add it on later. Just a thought.
When Nordstrom installed the motion detector style water faucets in their ladies rooms, I thought it was the best thing since sliced bread. Now of course, this technology is available for use in our homes. Not having to turn a faucet on and off is much easier for an elderly person. It can be a glam addition to your bathroom so you can begin enjoying it in your 30s and then still enjoy it in your 80s. This is all part of universal design, and as one of these designers, Falcon Homes, Inc. puts it, 'you can have a home that 'grows gracefully with you.' For more ideas, check out the above websites.
I forgot to add this: apparently Home Depot holds classes on Adaptable/Universal Design ideas, so you might want to contact them for more information as well. Peace Out - 3C