Remodeling to Accommodate Aging-in-Place in Atascadero
Whether you are planning for yourself or a loved one, here are four remodeling principles of aging-in-place everyone should consider
As we grow up and grow older, our physical needs change. Our eyesight deteriorates, we start to lose our balance, and it is harder to navigate features like staircases. All of these changes can make living in our existing homes difficult at best, and worst case, potentially dangerous.
But before you consider leaving your precious home for a retirement community or even an assisted living facility, know this: There are lots of remodels that can be done to accommodate these physical needs. You don’t necessarily have to leave your home. Which is great news because our memories are also in the process of abandoning us, and moving can cause additional and unnecessary stress.
Here are some of the most important features to consider when remodeling to accommodate aging-in-place:
Being able to get into and out of your house is key for continuing to live independently. Remodel at least one of your entrances to your home to make it “barrier free.” This means no steps. If you can’t get into the house in a wheelchair, without help from anyone, your home is not barrier free. Zero-threshold entries are vital to avoiding slips and falls.
Another helpful remodel to ensure access to your home is widening doorways and hallways to be at least 32” wide, although preferably 36” or wider. This is the absolute minimum amount of space needed to get a wheelchair or a walker through the space. Consider the turning radius of these mobility aids when planning your furniture layout as well.
Bright Lights & Contrasts
As our eyesight gets worse, we need exponentially more lighting in our homes. The best lights are LEDs that you won’t need to replace as often, and preferably have a Kelvin rating of 3500 or higher. You’ll want to put extra lights in areas that are not as well lit, such as underneath your kitchen cabinets to help illuminate the countertop, or over your shower.
It is also incredibly helpful to use contrasts in material colors to help aid in differentiating depth of field. If your kitchen sink and countertops are the same color, and your vision is going blurry, it is unfortunately quite easy to try and set something on the counter and accidentally put it on the edge of the sink, where it could fall and potentially break.
Dignity in the Bathroom
One of the reasons many people try to stay in their homes rather than move to a retirement community or an assisted living facility is because they feel as though they are losing their independence, and even worse, their dignity. Bathroom remodels that include things like anti-slip shower floors, grab bars, and even a bidet can do wonders for allowing us to feel independent and self-reliant.
Remove the bathtub; make sure the shower is zero-threshold; put a seat in the shower; add grab bars everywhere (they make some pretty snazzy, integrated grab bars these days that don’t look nearly so ugly and commercial); use contrasts and lots of bright lighting; get an ADA-height toilet, or better yet, a bidet. And one of the best things you can do in an aging-in-place bathroom remodel is to make sure the door does not swing into the bathroom. Just in case someone falls in the bathroom, you need to be able to access them easily to provide assistance, so don’t let their fallen body block the door from opening.
If you are not yet concerned about aging-in-place for yourself, but are considering it for a loved one, something you can do to make your home a welcoming place is make it “visit-able.” This means making sure everything on the first floor is accessible to them, such as a barrier free entrance, and an accessible bathroom. When your loved ones feel comfortable visiting you, it can go a long way to aiding in their independence and dignity.
As multi-generational living becomes more popular here in the States, this could include having a bedroom and full bathroom on the first floor of a multi-story home. Even if it only serves as a guest room right now, it could potentially be the space you move into when it’s time to consider aging-in-place for yourself.
Are you ready to make some improvements to your home to accommodate aging-in-place? We’d love to help you! Get in touch with us today to see what we can do for your home.
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