Archive for the ‘Aging in Place’ Category

Aging in Place – Part Three: Resources for You

Friday, July 20th, 2012

Mature CoupleWith most changes, there’s usually a bit of learning involved as you undergo a current or impending transition.

While you research the topic of “aging in place,” take a look at the following websites. We found them informative and easy to navigate, while providing useful resources and sound approaches.








- Book Search on for the keywords “Aging in Place”



- National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) – Aging in Place


If you have questions about the information on these sites, give us a call and please let us know if we can be of service with your choices and decisions regarding “aging in place.” Reach me today at 301-946-2356 or

David Merrick
Merrick Design and Build

Aging in Place – Part Two: Changes to Consider

Monday, June 18th, 2012

A kitchen with ample maneuverable space and storage

If you’re considering aging in place modifications in your home, it’s important to examine all of your home’s major spaces including entry ways, bathrooms, bedrooms, kitchen and even your yard. Here’s a quick reference list to use as you review the rooms and spaces in your home:









Entry Ways

The entry to your home is your connection to the rest of the world: it’s where you receive guests, bring in groceries, and head out for appointments and social events. It should be safe and convenient no matter the weather, time of day or your physical condition. Barrier-free entryways make it easier for family members or friends who use wheelchairs or for others with special needs.

No-Step Entries

The walkway leading from the sidewalk or driveway to the front entrance can have no steps and very little, if any, slope to accommodate those in wheelchairs or who have trouble climbing steps. A ramp is another type of no-step entry.

No-Step Thresholds

Entryways leading into your home or passages into other rooms are not divided by a threshold, eliminating a common tripping hazard.


Garage Lifts

Garage lifts enables enable those in wheelchairs, or who have problems climbing steps, to gain access from the garage to the inside of the home.



There’s no space in your home more personal than your bathroom. You use it countless times every day; it should be comfortable, attractive and safe. To increase safety and accessibility in your bathroom, consider the following modifications:

  • Build a roll-in shower with multiple showerheads
  • Lower your bathroom sink, ensuring there’s proper knee clearance
  • Instal an elevated toilet
  • Instal grab bars



A comfortable and welcoming bedroom provides respite from the world and helps create an environment for proper rest after long long works days and fun activities:

  • Ensure ample maneuvering clearance
  • Build a walk-in closet with storage at varying heights
  • Install rocker light switches, which are easier to turn on compared to the more common flip switch
  • Install light fixtures in closets and passageways



If you love to cook, but find it difficult to bend or have a height limitation, there are numerous steps you can take to modify your kitchen, making more ‘user-friendly’:

  • Ensure ample maneuvering space
  • Vary the height of countertops
  • Instal a sink with knee clearance
  • Instal a raised dishwasher
  • Lower cooking surfaces
  • Mount a wall oven and/or microwave at reachable heights
  • Create an abundance of reachable storage space
  • Provide a desk/work area with knee clearance



Lighting sets the mood, so controlling natural light and electric light when you need it makes your home personal, convenient and safe.

One way to reduce accidents in your home is to have proper lighting installed. Outdoor areas, stairways, the kitchen area, the living room and other spaces are just a few examples where proper lighting is helpful. We recommend using rocker-type light switches wherever possible, which you can turn them on and off with the touch of an elbow when your hands are full. Additionally, well-placed skylights and ceiling lights are just a two examples of the type of lighting to consider adding to your home.



If you maintain a flower or vegetable garden in your yard, consider raising your beds at some point. Raising your beds can help reduce fatigue and the stress on your body when gardening for extended periods of time.


As always, we welcome your questions, comments and feedback. Contact me today at 301-946-2356 or

David Merrick
Merrick Design and Build

Aging in Place – Part One: Three Scenarios

Monday, May 14th, 2012

A spacious kitchen with generous lighting

These days, there’s a lot of conversation around the topic of “aging in place“, so we’ve decided to write a three-part series on the subject. This first post will map out three aging in place scenarios, but before we get started, let’s review at what aging in place means.


The website speaks of aging in place as more than just living in the environment of choice as one gets older. It means being home in a place where emotional and functional needs are met, where family histories continue to develop and where precious memories are protected.


The National Association of Home Builders gives a similar definition: “aging in place means remaining in one’s home safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level. It means the pleasure of living in a familiar environment throughout one’s maturing years, and the ability to enjoy the familiar daily rituals and the special events that enrich all our lives. It means the reassurance of being able to call a house a ‘home’ for a lifetime.”


The choices, decisions and modifications regarding aging in place are unique to the couples and individuals undertaking the changes. Yet, most homeowners find themselves in one of these three major aging in place scenarios:


  1. Aging in Place without Urgent Needs – This scenario relates to individuals who want to stay in their current home and are not experiencing immediate health/mobility issues, yet they sense current or future needs for aging in place and universal design conveniences.
  2. Aging in Place with Progressive, Condition-Based Needs – This scenario relates to those with chronic or progressive conditions that will require aging in place modifications. These individuals are often aware of their needs, but making changes is not necessarily urgent. Some have chronic conditions such as diabetes, lung or heart disease that pose current challenges and will create future challenges.
  3. Aging in Place with Traumatic Needs – This scenario includes those who experience abrupt changes that demand immediate adjustments in their living environment through aging in place modifications and universal design.


If you’re considering aging in place modifications to your home, be sure to check back and read our next post, which will focus on the specific changes many homeowners in the DC area hire Merrick to make.


As always, we welcome your questions, comments and feedback. Contact me today at 301-946-2356 or


David Merrick
Merrick Design and Build