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Planning an Age-in-Place Remodel? Here Are Some Things to ConsiderDecember 27th, 2013 by
According to an AARP survey of people 45 and over, 75 percent of respondents would strongly prefer to live in their current home as long as possible. But how can you protect your independence while living safely?
An age-in-place remodel based on the principles of universal design can help many aging persons remain in their homes year after year. For a successful age-in-place remodel, plan early while you are still able-bodied.
Also, if you are worried about your home looking too institutional, there are many elegant products and designs that can fit seamlessly in any decor.
Best Aging-In-Place Renovations to Stay In Your Home Longer
The following is a list of some typical age-in-place remodels and modifications:
- Open floor space for easy wheelchair turns
- Wide hallways and doorways for wheelchair access
- Flush or minimal floor thresholds between rooms
- Bed rails
- Lighting upgrades
- Rocker light switches
- Motion sensor hallway lighting
- Lever door handles instead of door knobs
- Raised appliances (washer, dryer, oven, and dishwasher)
Kitchen and Bath Upgrades
- Nonslip surfaces for bathtubs and shower floors
- Bathroom grab bars
- Wheelchair-accessible shower
- Handheld showerhead with shower seat
- Anti-scald temperature controls
- Raised toilet seat with handlebars
- Lever faucet handles instead of knobs
- Pull-out shelves and lazy Susans for base cabinets
For Two-Story Homes
- Handrails on stairways
- Stair lift or elevator
- Laundry chute or laundry room adjacent to master bedroom
- No-step entryway or entryway ramp to front of house
- Motion sensor outdoor lighting
- Low-maintenance plants and shrubs
Tips For Helping Keep Elderly Residents Safe at Home
- Keep household items on easily accessible lower shelves.
- Consider purchasing a shower chair or bath bench to prevent falling in the bathroom. It’s also a good idea to place nonslip mats near the toilet, near the sink, and both inside and next to the bathtub.
- Install a rail or bar in the shower that can be gripped for support.
- Make sure your stair rails are sturdy and in good order, and add rails to any stairs that do not have them.
- In addition to regular light switches, think about installing remote switches, such as those that can be activated by clapping.
- Tack or tape down all area rugs, and repair any loose carpeting. If you have hardwood floors, consider covering them with carpet — it’s less slippery and softer to land on than hardwood.
- Keep hallways, stairwells, and outside areas such as porches and walkways well lit. Use nightlights at night.
- Make sure that all medicines are clearly labeled.
- Keep clutter out of hallways and other foot traffic areas, and arrange furniture to make movement as easy as possible.
- If necessary, install an entry ramp to make access easier for wheelchair users.
Hiring a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist
Unsure of what modifications will make your home more comfortable as you age? Consider consulting with a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS).
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), in collaboration with the AARP, the NAHB 50+ Council, and Home Innovation Research Labs, designed the program to equip remodelers and other building professionals with the skills and expertise to address the unique needs of homeowners looking to age in place.
From common modifications and remodeling projects to inventive solutions for your home, a CAPS can help you explore your options.
While you may have owned your home for decades, it’s important to prepare it to age with you and your unique needs.
Planning and executing an age-in-place remodel can take a lot of work, but you’ll be rewarded with additional years of living comfortably and safely in your home and community.