Aging-In-Place Checklist


Many aging-in-place features have been built into the design of NEST HOME PLANS, including:

  • zero step entries (including the garage)
  • doors that are at least 2'-10" wide
  • at least one bathroom large enough to be wheelchair accessible on the main floor
  • 60” diameter turnaround space for wheelchairs in hallways


When working with your builder to make interior fixture and finish selections and finalizing the design of your cabinetry, you should also consider the following items:


  • Ample natural and artificial lighting
  • Exterior lights on a photocell (turn on automatically when it gets dark)
  • At least 2 bulbs in vital places (such as exits and bathrooms)
  • Thermostatic (anti-scald) valves
  • Pressure-balanced valves


Easy-to-operate options, such as:

  • lever handles for doors
  • cabinet door and drawer pulls that don’t require a pinching-grasp (such as D-shaped pulls instead of thin edge pulls or cabinet knobs)


  • Covered parking
  • Wider than average to accommodate ramp vans
  • Taller garage doors for raised roof vans


  • Lever handles, preferably operable with one hand
  • Mount within easy reach (consider mounting on side of sink instead of rear)
  • Pull-out faucets


  • Adjustable and/or varied height counters
  • Knee space and/or removable base cabinets
  • Adjacent landing space for dishes next to all kitchen appliances
  • Contrasting color on edge of countertops (assists with depth perception)


  • Bottom of upper cabinetry lower than conventional height (typically 3” lower)
  • Drawers at base cabinets
  • Lazy susans
  • Pull-down upper cabinets
  • Glass front cabinet doors
  • Open shelving for everyday items
  • Roll-out trays in tall cabinets or tall pull-out cabinets with adjustable shelves


  • Easy-to-read controls
  • Side-by-side refrigerator/freezer
  • Side-opening wall oven
  • Dishwasher drawers
  • Magnetic induction cooktop with controls operable without having to reach across burners


  • Slip-resistant
  • Avoid rugs
  • Avoid carpet unless firm, commercial-style carpet (less than half inch pile, high density, with firm pad)
  • Color/texture contrast to indicate change in surface levels


  • Handrails (consider both sides)
  • Contrast strip at top and bottom stairs and color contrast between treads and risers
  • Step lights
  • Pre-framed shaft for future elevator including pit and overrun (could be framed-in as stacked closets until elevator is desired)
  • Elevator should be large enough for wheelchair user with a caretaker or companion
  • Minimum 4’ wide stair for chair lift


  • Slopes not to exceed 1” of rise for each 12” in length
  • Handrails and guardrails
  • 60” diameter turning radius at top and bottom
  • Edge protection


  • Easy-open doors
  • Doors that do not obstruct access and require less maneuvering (such as bypass doors and pocket doors)


  • Adjustable closet rods & shelves


  • Controls located no higher than 48” above the floor
  • Electrical outlets 15” above the floor or higher
  • Extra outlets (to reduce the need for extension cords)
  • Rocker or touch-action switches (avoid knob-style dimmers)
  • Smoke alarms with both audible and visible indicators
  • Smart home system controllable from a mobile device, including security/intercom, thermostat, and lighting
  • Panic button (calls 911 and/or other agencies)
  • Wireless internet


  • Easy-to-read devices
  • Pre-programmed or smart thermostat
  • Filters within easy reach


  • Easy-to-clean surfaces
  • Central vacuum or robot vacuum
  • Built-in pet feeding station
  • Built-in recycling station


  • Separate apartment (could also be rented for additional income)
  • Caretaker suite (could be a flex room with bathroom and kitchenette that becomes a caretaker suite)
  • Separate entrance
  • Parking
  • Insulate walls, ceilings, and floors to provide some noise reduction/privacy between the caretaker suite and the primary dwelling


  • Solid blocking throughout for future grab bars 
  • Curbless shower, at least 36” wide
  • Lower bathtub
  • Adjustable/handheld shower head with 72” hose
  • Tub/shower controls offset to open edge of tub (for easier reach)
  • Toilet seat 17-19” high or height-adjustable
  • Toilet paper holder that can be operated for new roll installation with one hand
  • Bidet seat (or electrical outlet for future bidet seat)
  • Pipe protection to protect seated users from burns
  • Personal hygiene products within easy reach from toilet
  • Toilets should not be separated into rooms too small for a wheelchair to access

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