Thursday, July 19, 2012

Easing Mobility Challenges With Age In Place Remodeling


As expected the trend for seniors continuing to live in their own homes as they age is on the rise.  Seniors are not willing to sacrifice their independent living so easily these days.  The option of managed care, assisted living and moving in with adult children is not appealing to the aging generation in 2012.  With all of the available options within the home improvement industry to help create safe, barrier free living environments who can blame them.  

Many adult children are also seeing the benefits of allowing their aging parents to remain within their own homes.  Fostering independence keeps seniors active, mobile and excited about living life, things that often become stagnate when venturing into a care facility.  It also allows a more manageable approach to caring for aging parents.  It does not become a burden to any one sibling and their family.  

Age in place remodeling starts with small tweaks that can be made as rooms are naturally remodeled in the course of home remodeling. This makes the transition into barrier free living simpler.  Simple steps such as updating faucet handles as well as door pulls and levers can make accessing rooms and cupboards easy for aging hands.  Plus this type of renovation is non-invasive and really can be done slowly as home updates are being made.   

It is really beneficial for homeowners of all ages to start incorporating universal designs into their home improvements, creating a unique stylish home that is safe and comfortable for years to come.  Below are some items to consider when planning home renovations.

·         One issue to consider is the width of doorways and the homes hallways.  In new construction you will often see hallways that are substantially wider than homes built earlier.  This helps to give homes a more open feel.  Wider hallways keep the home from feeling tight and closed in.  Another benefit for barrier free living is that mobility devices such as walkers, wheelchairs and canes are able to be used without worry.  The same is true with doorways that are widened.  It allows for easy turns to be made in and out of rooms. 

·         Ramps are another update being made to homes today.  I know you instantly imagine hospital ramps when I say that but today ramps are incredibly stylish and versatile.  Not at all like the aluminum hospital style ramps, handicap ramps today are made of a variety of materials including aluminum, wood and mixed metals.  Stairs can also be designed along side of ramp systems as not to hinder those wanting the use of stairs as well.  It is best to make the actual step a bit wider and about seven inches high for ease of use and safety.

·         The bathroom is one of the most important areas of the home for privacy and independence.  Special care should be sought out when designing the space.  Consider adding a shower that does not involve stepping in.  Barrier free surrounds are available or for a more sophisticated approach you can use textured tiles to surround the shower areas, add a built in bench and soap dishes left at a lower height.   

·         Another issue in the bathroom area is often the actual toilet itself.  It is best to replace the toilet with a toilet that is taller than an average commode.  This is a great way not to single out the user.  Many aides for the bathroom are invasive and really public as they are used over the actual toilet.  This is often embarrassing for the user.  Higher toilets with added grab bars give a more attractive, less institutional feel to a bathroom area.

There are many stylish updates to the home that you can make to improve your home to help create an independent, barrier free living environment.  As your parents start to age and you see them remodeling hint to them that some of the above can be put into place keeping the home stylish yet upgrading the safety for them.  Seniors and those losing their mobility will benefit from the unsterile look and feel of their home.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Age In Place Remodeling Improves Upon The Quality Of Life For Seniors


As we age our bodies and the things we are able to do on our own change.  This is a natural part of aging.  It does often require some upfront planning to ensure the transition into our later years easier.  Age in place remodeling is one way to help retain confidence aging within one’s home environment.  Allowing barrier free living renovations to take place keeps you in control of the changing environment, your quality of life and the independence you desire.  

Aging in place is a fairly new concept to remodeling.  It takes into consideration aging adults that are interested in maintaining their lifestyle and independence later in life.  Barrier free consultants can ensure a transition into the later years that is smooth and non-invasive.  Small tweaks and home improvements can keep you living on your own longer.  Even once support services are needed for certain tasks in life if you are still able to maintain the independence of living in your own home you are sure to feel better about the aging process.  

Age in place remodeling is often less expensive than moving loved ones into retirement communities and care centers.  Many home health care services are offered with the convenience that having nursing on site brings but from the comfort of your own home.  These are things to look at when considering the future.  It is inevitable that we all get older.  How we handle moving forward with the process is what will keep us growing independently.  

Waiting until the inevitable happens is not the best way to approach age in place living.  As we age our balance becomes a bit more unstable and our mobility a bit wobbly.  This requires changes to be made before we take a fall that can result in permanent damage to our aging bodies.  One important addition to a home has to do with the ability to enter and exit the home environment. Installation of a handicap ramp to ease the transition in and out can greatly benefit aging bodies.  Even if you are in a wheelchair or using a walker to help with mobility, wheelchair accessible ramps can alleviate the joint pain felt from stairs.

As your home is in need of repairs and renovations your should talk with an age in place specialist to figure out exactly what changes will make life easier on aging joints and slower abilities.  Kitchens and bathrooms are two areas that it is incredibly important to be able to navigate easily and without hindering knobs, levers, draw pulls and faucets.   The tub area is another place that needs to be able to freely gotten into and out of.  Ask for recommendations as to where to begin so that your home is not transformed into something unrecognizable.  You want to stay in your home because it is familiar.  Changes should be made that help make life easier not completely transform the home. 

Your home age in place remodeling focus will center on entering, exiting and moving about the home.  Your everyday life will be made simpler and adding safety features will take on new level of priority.  You will find a variety of items that look and feel like ordinary home items but improved to ease the aging process.  Toilets are a few inches higher, tubs a bit wider and lights a bit brighter but all in and all it is still the comfort of home.