Aging in Place Design Checklist

Are you a consumer seeking to modify an existing home for aging in place or build a new home to meet your needs over the long term? If so, check out our Aging-In-Place Design Checklists. They contain features you may want to consider for your next new construction or renovation project.


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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