What is lifetime Design?
Lifetime Design is a set of specifications that, when applied to a home plan, will create a home that can be lived in and visited by persons with mobility limitations. The specific criteria are listed below.
Lifetime Design Criteria
- Accessible entrances and major main floor doorways must be at least 36” wide with at least one zero step entrance.
- Main floor hallways must be at least 42” wide.
- There must be at least one bedroom and one bathroom on the first floor with a door way at least 36” wide. This bathroom must have a minimum 48” turning radius (standard wheelchairs need a 60” turning radius, motorized wheelchairs need a 72” radius).
- There must be accessible electric switches on the first floor. Recommended height is 48” maximum and outlet height should be between 18 and 24”.
- The kitchen must be accessible with a minimum 48” turning radius.
You do not need to incorporate all of these criteria into your new home to enjoy the benefits of Lifetime Design.
If you carefully examine the criteria, you will notice that the main concern is SPACE. Simply stating with wider hallways and wider doorways is an excellent start. Add in a bedroom and full bath on the first floor and you are well on your way to having a home you can live in for a lifetime.
CREATIVITY is the key in building a Lifetime Design home. You may decide that you really do not want a bedroom on the main floor. The answer may be to have a home office or den that could be converted to a bedroom should the need arise.
Make the main floor bathroom larger than you might have originally considered, following the minimum criteria listed above. The, should the need arise, you can convert this bathroom to have fixtures that you would need for a parson in a wheelchair.
Lifetime Design homes are beautiful, cost effective, and extremely practical. If you plan the home efficiently, you will not need to add a great deal of space to the home to incorporate Lifetime Design elements.
(Lifetime Design information taken from the Home and Building Association of Greater Grand Rapids, Lifetime Design Committee)