If you are part of this population or are helping to care for someone who is aging and hoping to live at home as they age it is important to start making small changes to keep their homes safe, comfortable, functional and easy for them to use.
One of the first recommendations that age in place contractors give to the aging population is to avoid a home that requires you to access areas via stairways. Stairs are difficult to maneuver as we age. Our knees don’t bend well and balance is at premium. For some this may mean relocating while for other it may mean adjusting the current space. Some homes have bedrooms only on a second floor. If this is the case it may mean turning a formal dining space into a master sweet and adjusting the current space a bit. For others it may mean that the addition of a handicap ramp. Stairs leading into and out of the home can be tricky for seniors to navigate as well. It is in the best interest of individuals looking to stay in their homes to have an access that is handicap modified. Adding a handicap ramp eases access of wheelchairs, walkers and canes.
It is important that homes where seniors are aging in place are as maintenance free as possible. This doesn’t mean that the home will not have some maintenance but it is possible to lessen the responsibilities of the individuals as they grow older. Vinyl siding, metal roofing and composite decking are three easy exterior modification to homes where seniors wish to age in place. Choose landscape materials that come back each year on their own as well as varieties that do not require yearly trimming. Install automatic sprinklers as well. These are all great options for keeping the curb appeal while allowing independence and aging in place.
It is also important that you look into the rooms within the home. Remove all throw rugs, baskets sitting on the floor, cords in areas that individuals will be walking and easy the simple things like light switches and cabinet door pulls. In the bathroom many choose to do age in place remodeling such as installing entry free showers with a built in seat. Grab bars are also an important feature. Lighting should be bright throughout the home as well. Install rocker switches at all the entry and exits of a room to avoid having to walk into a room in the dark.
Creating a safe, comfortable space for the senior in your life is fairly simple. Always hire contractors that are certified in handicap remodeling and age in place remodeling. They will be the best guide to analyzing the current space and offering suggestions on what areas could use some improvement to create a space that is as safe as possible.