There is a strong movement these days to help the older generation stay in their homes as they get older. “Aging in Place” started as a marketing term coined by those who work in the senior housing industry. But, it has evolved into a something millions of Americans are helping their elderly parents do: stay in their homes, be comfortable and safe in familiar surroundings. Here are a few ideas when it comes to remodeling your home to be able to age in place.
Before we get into specifics, it’s good to start with something simple: if the main bedroom and bathroom are upstairs, this is going to probably have to change. Most aging in place experts suggest changing the entire first floor and adding the master bedroom and bath downstairs and leaving the upstairs for family and guests. Of course, you could install an elevator in your home or add a stair lift…but, if you’re going to spend that kind of money, why not make some additions to the lower level?
There are a lot of changes that can be made here. Raising the kitchen sink and dishwasher, adding pull-out shelves to the lower cabinets and pull down shelves to the upper cabinets and changing the hardware on cabinet doors that make them easier to grip and pull open. There should also be consideration of space when looking at a kitchen re-design. If there is an island in the middle, see if a wheelchair can fit around it. Also, do you need to switch the type of floor you have in order to make it “less slippery.” Slip resistant flooring can be installed here and in the bathroom. Carpeting can also be a problem for wheelchairs, so you may want to consider changing the flooring in other parts of the first floor, too.
Consider light and the ability to add more light to a bathroom. As you get older and eyesight changes more light can really help. Natural light or track lighting would be perfect. Add grab bars not just to the bathtub but next to toilets and sinks. But, don’t try to install grab bars yourself. We recommend having these installed professionally, since grab bars are used to help get up or sit down, they must be installed properly to support ones weight. You can also install comfort-height toilets, which are a bit taller than conventional toilets and are easier to sit down on. Change your bathtubs into showers that you can walk into and have a place to sit. Getting into and out of a tub will become harder with age. Another option would be to create a “wet room” bathroom or install a walk-in tub.
There are lots of other ideas we can come up with together! We can certainly help with designs to make sure you can remain in your home comfortably. Give us a call today and we can help you plan for your future! We do offer free consultations!