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Aging-in-Place Checklist

This Aging-In-Place Design Checklist, provided by the National Association of Homes Builders, is not only a great reference for us - contractors, design build firms - but also for anyone considering renovations / remodels aimed at aging in place. While this list is extensive, these are items to consider, no matter your age!


  • Low-maintenance exterior (vinyl, brick)

  • Low-maintenance shrubs and plants

  • Deck, patio or balcony surfaces are no more than ½ inch below interior floor level if made of wood

Overall Floor Plan

  • Main living on a single story, including full bath

  • No steps between rooms/areas on the same level

  • 5-foot by 5-foot clear/turn space in living area, kitchen, a bedroom and a bathroom


  • At least one no-step entry with a cover

  • Sensor light at exterior no-step entry focusing on the front-door lock

  • Non-slip flooring in foyer

  • Entry door sidelight or high/low peep hole viewer; Both providing privacy and safety

Interior Doors

  • There needs to be 32 inches of clear width, which requires a 36-inch door

  • Levered door hardware


  • Lowered windows or taller windows with lower sill height

  • Low maintenance exterior and interior finishes

  • Easy to operate hardware

Garage or Carport

  • Wider than average carports to accommodate lifts on vans

  • 5-foot minimum access aisle between accessible van and car in garage

  • Ramp to doorway if needed

  • Handrail if steps

Kitchen and Laundry Counters

  • Wall support and provision for adjustable and/or varied height counters and removable base cabinets

  • Upper wall cabinetry - 3 inches lower than conventional height

  • Pull-down shelving

  • Open shelving for easy access to frequently used items


  • Washing machine and dryer raised 12 to 15 inches above floor

  • Front loading laundry machines

  • Microwave oven at counter height or in wall

  • Side-by-side refrigerator/freezer


  • Wall support and provision for adjustable and/or varied height counters and removable base cabinets

  • At least one wheelchair maneuverable bath on main level

  • Bracing in walls around tub, shower, shower seat and toilet for installation of grab bars to support 250 - 300 pounds

  • If stand-up shower is used in main bath, it is curbless and minimum of 36 inches wide

  • Bathtub - lower for easier access

  • Fold down seat in the shower

  • Adjustable/ handheld showerheads, 6-foot hose

  • Toilet 2 ½ inches higher than standard toilet (17 to 19 inches) or height-adjustable

Stairways, Lifts and Elevators

  • Adequate hand rails on both sides of stairway, 1 ¼-inch diameter

  • Increased visibility of stairs through contrast strip on top and bottom stairs, color contrast between treads and risers on stairs and use of lighting

  • Multi-story homes may provide either pre-framed shaft (ie. stacked closets) for future elevator, or stairway width must be minimum of 4 feet to allow space for lift

  • Residential elevator or lift


  • Slope no greater than 1 inch rise for each 12 inches in length, adequate handrails

  • 5-foot landing provided at entrance

  • 2-inch curbs for safety

Electrical, Lighting, Safety and Security

  • Light switches by each entrance to halls and rooms

  • High-tech security/intercom system that can be monitored, with the heating, air conditioning and lighting, from any TV in the house

  • Flashing porch light or 911 switch

  • Direct wired to police, fire, and EMS (as option)

  • Home wired for security

Other Ideas

  • Separate apartment for rental income or future caregiver

  • Flex room that can be used for an aging parent/aging in place

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