Getting older comes with enough challenges—feeling unfamiliar with a new environment shouldn’t have to be one of them. 

When an individual can live in their own home and community, they feel a sense of normalcy, whether this means saying “good morning” to their neighbours or being greeted by an affectionate pet. 

Home builders have the opportunity to facilitate this, constructing or remodelling homes to fit the needs of individuals at every stage of life. But if you’re a homeowner, you may not know where to start. 

In the realm of home design, aging in place isn’t just about outfitting homes with modern features, it’s about crafting spaces that reflect unique lives, lifestyles, and needs. This guide will explore the concept of aging in place and the art of building age-friendly custom homes in Calgary and beyond.

What Is Aging in Place?

In a recent study, 85% of older Canadians said they’d prefer to “age in place”. What exactly does that mean? Aging in place refers to the ability of individuals to live in their own homes and community for as long as possible. It means living safely, independently, and comfortably regardless of age, income, or abilities. 

The fact that the majority of Canadians would prefer this means there’s a fantastic opportunity for custom home builders to make it happen. However, this doesn’t come without challenges, and thoughtful design that anticipates the evolving needs of residents and their quality of life is key.

Within aging in place home design, the number and type of modifications can vary greatly from home to home and person to person. It’s all about meeting unique needs, however, there tend to be some commonalities between projects. We’ll explore these in the sections ahead. 

Additional scope to renovation projects

Aging in Place: What to Consider When Building an Age-Friendly Custom Home

We all have needs for safety and comfort, but as we age, those needs can intensify and the features of a residence may need to change to accommodate living independently at home. Some key factors to discuss about age-friendly custom homes include:


Age-friendly home design should accommodate wheelchairs and walkers. Hallways need to be wide enough to navigate easily and spaces should be clutter-free to reduce the risk of falls. Think simple, but impactful design.


From non-slip flooring to grab bars, a custom home should have the right features in place to help prevent falls and facilitate their daily routines. Bathroom safety is a primary concern for those wishing to age in place, as are interior and exterior stairs, and patios. Thoughtful design can help make these home features safer. 


Think of designing kitchens and bathrooms so that cabinets, sinks, and appliances can be easily adjusted in height. This adaptability can accommodate changing needs without requiring a complete remodel. Other features such as a sink with a motion sensor, raised electrical outlets, and rocker light switches are also good to consider.


Consider installing a residential elevator or stairlift, or using a design where the bedroom and bathroom are on the main floor to ensure a comfortable and accessible home regardless of mobility limitations.


Think about adding more natural light sources to improve visibility, especially in hallways, staircases, and task areas. Use easily reachable switches and possibly motion sensors to make lighting more accessible. This may mean creating large windows or adding more windows, and making sure they are easy to open, close, and lock.

Low Maintenance

Regular cleaning can be difficult as we get older. Choose materials and designs that are easy to clean or require minimal cleaning. Materials such as tile and stone are durable, long-lasting, and easy to maintain.

Socially Connected

Homes should be customized to unique needs and families. Space for staying connected virtually is also important. Consider expansive living rooms, accessible dining areas, or a designated nook for a computer. This could be further accentuated by thoughtful interior design.

Universal Design

Employ universal design principles that focus on making all parts of the home accessible to and usable by all people in the home. Universal design includes features that require minimal effort to use, are simple and intuitive, and have a tolerance for error. This can include walk-in showers, no-step entries, and variable-height countertops.


Smart home technology has come a long way, and it can be an incredible asset for older adults. Features such as automated systems for lighting, temperature control, security, and entertainment are fabulous assets for aging in place. 

With that said, they’re just the beginning. Advanced smart systems such as floor sensors can help get individuals who fall at home the help they need quickly.

Exterior Sketch of Calgary home

Together, Building a Legacy

Whether you’re a homeowner or a custom home builder in Calgary, creating a beautiful and thoughtfully tailored home is important. We all deserve to feel supported through every stage of life, and the right home design can help make that a reality.

You’re not just constructing buildings or modifying your home, you’re creating a legacy. These homes are where families will grow, and by focusing on age-friendly home design, we can ensure that they’re inclusive, welcoming, and capable of adapting to the ever-changing needs of life.

Contact our professional team at Ellergodt Design today to learn more about how we can incorporate age-friendly features in your custom home design. 


What are the best practices for aging in place?

Some of the best practices within aging in place design include widening doorways, enhancing lighting, increasing contrast, and incorporating voice-activated technology. A focus on accessibility, comfort, and safety is key whether designing a simple remodel or a luxury custom home.

How do you become a certified aging in place specialist in Canada?

To become a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS), you’ll need to complete a self-guided virtual course and complete a test. To graduate the course, you will submit a copy of the CAPS code of ethics, proof of liability insurance, and your business license. 

Discover more inspiration for your custom home design journey:

How to Balance Functionality with Aesthetics in Home Design

Adapting Home Design to Calgary’s Updated Residential Zoning Bylaws

Financial Planning Strategies for Home Renovations