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SCROGGS BLOG // Building A Better Future: Aging-In-Place In A Single-Story Custom Home

Aging-in-place is a growing trend, whether you live in a city apartment or a single-story custom home in the suburbs. The overwhelming majority of older adults prefer this option, so planning for the future ensures an easier transition when the time comes.

Understanding Aging-In-Place

Aging-in-place is defined as remaining in a community-based dwelling during one’s late years in life. This could include staying in a home where someone has lived for most of their adult life or downsizing to a more manageable space. Either way, the goal is to maintain independent living as long as possible.

According to the University of Michigan, 80% of adults aged 50–80 desire to remain in their homes for as long as possible. A 2022 research study published in the Journal of Gerontology shows that seniors are achieving this goal as the percentage of older adults living in traditional housing has increased while the percentage of those residing in nursing homes has decreased during the past 20 years.

For some seniors, minor aging-in-place upgrades like installing grab bars or rearranging furniture in their house are sufficient to create a safe, accessible living space. Others may need extensive remodels or even consider purchasing a new, custom-built home that addresses their current and future needs.

When Life Priorities Change

Many homes were likely acquired during a time when aging-in-place was not a high priority. A 2020 report by the Delaware Journal of Public Health estimated that only 10% of American homes are “aging ready,” with “a step-free entryway, a bedroom and bathroom on the first floor, and at least one bathroom accessibility feature.”

Depending on older adults’ specific needs and abilities, large structural changes may be required for aging-in-place in a multi-story home, such as adding a bedroom and bathroom on the first floor. This could come with significant unexpected costs in the form of plumbing, rewiring, or a complete build-out of a new addition. There are also daily challenges that seniors face aging in place in a multi-story home, such as:

  • Increased risk of falls
  • Accessibility issues
  • Financial stress of higher utility bills
  • Burden of housekeeping for a larger space

Why Single-Story May Be Your Aging-in-Place Answer

If you or a loved one is currently in a multi-story home, you might consider switching to a single-story for aging-in-place. 

There are many benefits of living in a single-story home for older adults, including:

  • Saving money. Living in a single-story home means cheaper utility bills. If needed, hiring help for housecleaning and routine maintenance will also be less expensive.
  • Increased sense of safety. Without stairs, fall risks are greatly reduced.
  • Easier to maintain. A single-story home with a smaller floor plan will be easier to maintain for someone with limited mobility.

The Benefits of Customization

If a living situation is deemed unfit for long-term care, consider purchasing a new, custom-built, single-story home that is specifically designed to accommodate the owner’s current and future needs.

Some of the design features to consider are:

  • Safety-enhancing elements like grab bars, slip-resistant flooring, lever-style door handles, and single-handle faucets.
  • Incorporating lots of natural light for easy visibility.
  • Taking advantage of smart home technology to enhance convenience and accessibility. 

Customizing a home from the ground up allows for a tailored approach that not only meets current needs but also anticipates future requirements, providing a supportive environment for aging gracefully in place.

You don’t have to do it alone. With thoughtful planning and a builder who is a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) like Scroggs Construction, who understands designing a space for aging-in-place, we can help you or your loved one build the home of their dreams. Contact us today!