Friday, September 12, 2014

Remodeling for Aging in Place


These days, with so many baby boomers and their elderly parents managing their housing plans and needs, the concept of aging in place is becoming an alternative to moving in with family, or going to an independent living community.

Preparing for Change is Hard
Change is sometimes harder the older we get. even changes that prevent us from needing to make a larger change, like moving out of a home. To manage a home while getting on in years, the following changes need to be considered in order to stay in the home and be able to "age in place". Eventually, when assisted living is needed and in-home care is either not an option or becomes too expensive, a move will need to happen. Before then, most people would like to stay in their own homes, and enjoy their lifestyle as long as possible.

Common Changes and Features for Staying at Home Safely

The most common features of a home that needs to be changed for aging in place is accessibility. Stairs need to be converted to ramps or have escalators installed. Bathrooms need to have more easily accessible toilets and shower stalls with handles. A shower stall without a curb is a popular alternative to avoid falls from stepping over a bathtub wall. Safety features need to be considered such as eliminating the use of small step ladders to reach high cabinets. Lower, reachable cabinets or pantries may need to be built to avoid falling from a small step ladder.
Small bumps or dividers between carpets and other flooring need to be leveled to avoid tripping, as well as any other protrusions from furniture, of fixtures in the home. Heated flooring and added insulation is also another option to consider for increased comfort.

Planning is Important

Planning and learning about all of the options available takes some time, but it is time well spent. Once all of the features and accessibility issues and options have been explored, then an informed decision can be made as to what needs to be done, what is the budget, and when will it be completed?

A meeting with a general contractor can be very helpful in learning about accessibility and various options and their cost estimates. You can also explore third party web sites such as the AARP blog
(Aging in Place search results ) to read about aging in place ideas and tips. 

Remodeling for aging in place can be attractive to those that can still manage their home, especially when made more accessible and safe.