Accessible Design Services

You likely found your way to Agewise Design through a recommendation or a search for information about modifying your own or a loved one’s home.

Here are some of the situations you may find yourself in:

  • You care for a loved one experiencing the natural decline of mobility that comes with aging.
  • You are noticing things that you used to take for granted, like stepping into the bathtub to take a shower, are feeling risky.
  • You are anticipating a surgery that will affect your mobility while you recover.
  • A loved one has suffered an injury from a fall or the onset of an illness that makes returning home or living at home seemingly impossible.
  • You or a loved one has spent time in a rehabilitation facility because of an injury and you want to avoid repeating it.
  • You are not worried about your safety at home, but you are hearing from family members who are.

If any of these resonate with you, or you have another concern, call or email us. Don’t fear that you are committing to anything. We provide a free one-hour consultation and can arrange for a home safety assessment that will give you valuable information about changes you can make.

What should you consider when thinking about accessible design?

The main considerations are safety, comfort, caregiving, and visitability.


We talk to many people experiencing a family crisis, like a fall injury. Unfortunately, most people do not address their own needs or the needs of their loved ones until after an injury has occurred.

As we age, we become weaker and less agile, which increases our chances of falling. Though most of us know a senior who has been injured in a fall, we are in denial about our own risks of falling. We may acknowledge that stairs in our homes will become hard to negotiate. We might even say, “We’re going to live here until we can’t manage the stairs.” Yet, if on a Monday something happens that means we can’t manage the stairs anymore, we can’t move into an ideal home on Tuesday.

This hesitancy makes fall injuries a growing public health issue. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, each year $50 billion is spent on non-fatal fall injuries among adults aged 65 and older. The long-term effects of injuries from falls include disability, dependence on others, lost time from work and household duties, and a diminished quality of life. Fortunately, many falls can be prevented by being proactive about aging-in-place.


Aging-in-place design and remodeling provide both physical comfort and peace of mind.

Physical Comfort

Most living spaces are designed for families—parents and children—not older people. Younger people negotiate common features without thinking, like steps into the house, up and down between interior levels, steep or narrow stairways, stepping into a bathtub to take a shower. Common building practices like fiberglass bathtub/shower units, which redefined a full bathroom as having the means to bathe or shower, require vigilance by older adults to avoid falling. If you fell and needed to use a walker temporarily, however, chances are you would not be able to access your master bathroom. Your walker would not fit through the typical 24” doorway between the master bedroom and bathroom because 24” doorways are designed for maximize wall space for large furniture.

Peace of Mind

Preparing for your future physical well-being is just as important as preparing for your future financial well-being. Yet many people fear making changes that will make their homes look institutional. They resist making the modifications that would give them peace of mind. Our projects demonstrate that living spaces modified for aging-in-place can be functional, stylish, and beautiful.

We encourage anyone planning repairs, upgrades, style updates, particularly to increase resale value, to factor in the future and pay for good design. Good aging-in-place design accommodates all of those objectives (see the Richey’s Project). Peace of mind means feeling confident that you have spent your money wisely by making prudent choices about your future physical well-being.

Testimonial: One Family's Peace of Mind

We were contacted by a family beyond our service area. Bob, a WWII veteran, had fallen. We met with his wife and four adult children. The following excerpt is from his wife’s letter:

I would like to thank you for your advice when we needed it most. It was a difficult time for all of us, and you were sensitive and helpful. . . After his stay in the hospital and rehab. . . Bob will be coming home next week. He has done better in rehab than anyone dared to hope. . . and he is walking (with some support) with a walker. He also has a wheelchair, and when he came for a home visit with two therapists yesterday, I was able to push him up the 36 foot ramp, installed by one of the companies that you recommended. . . Your advice was a great help to us, and we have followed your recommendations.

Dagrun Bennet, Franklin, Indiana


Family caregivers provide an immeasurable amount of love and support to loved ones who can no longer function independently or are facing chronic illness and disability. If you or a loved one intends to age-in-place, your family members will likely be called upon to provide assistance. Being proactive about aging-in-place remodeling will reduce the physical and mental stress on all of you.

The psychic cost of that care includes the expense of mental and physical stress when assisting loved ones with toileting, washing and bathing, walking, ascending and descending stairs, raising them up from falls, getting in and out of bed, dressing, not to mention medical appointments, shopping, errands, etc. Caregivers experience greater mental stress when longevity extends the length, scope, and complexity of their responsibilities, especially in their roles as surrogate decision makers.


Visitability means anyone can easily enter and exit your home, comfortably use the bathroom, and participate in cooking by using kitchen counters and appliances within their reach.

People, not just elderly loved ones, visit our homes. They come in all shapes and sizes, range in age from infants to seniors, and possess various ever-changing abilities. A house that is designed and built to reflect principles of Universal Design is safer and more accommodating to everyone who lives in or visits, regardless of age or physical ability.

Many of our holiday traditions involve gathering as families and friends to prepare and share special meals. Preparing and eating these meals together is a memorable part of these occasions. Imagine how meaningful and rewarding it would be to host and cook with all of your loved ones on those special days.

Next Steps

People typically follow one of three paths to modify their home for aging-in-place. (We represent the third choice.)

  1. Some take a minimalist approach hoping to make do with the least expensive, least disruptive modifications.
  2. Some take a traditional approach and hire competent contractors. However, many contractors lack the specialized knowledge needed to design client-centered modifications that will work over the long-term.
  3. Some take a progressive approach and hire specialists who are client-centered and focus on meeting their short- and long-term needs.

How We Work

We offer a complementary initial consultation:

  • Meet to develop a clear picture of your situation and objectives.
  • Review and evaluate the current use and condition of your living spaces.
  • Identify potential solutions.
  • Determine if there is a good fit between our expertise and your needs and expectations.

After the Initial Consultation

Most people have an idea of what they want at the conclusion of our initial consultation.

  1. To schedule a home safety assessment.
  2. To order and install assistive devices.
  3. To remodel or build living spaces. But they want to know their options and costs first. We advise them to hire us for several hours of design time. We take detailed field measurements, create floorplans in CAD with various options, research specialized products and write specifications, and meet to review and revise the plan and specifications with them. With a clear plan, we give them an estimate of the cost for us to build out the design. Or they present the final drawings and specifications to other contractors to bid on their project.


Are You Ready to Transform?

Contact us for a complimentary initial consultation that focuses on your needs and identifies options and approaches to making living spaces safer and more convenient.