What is Aging In Place All About?
As we get older, our needs change. Maybe it is harder to climb up the stairs we used to bound up as a teenager, or perhaps you find your balance is not what it used to be. It’s OK – aging is part of life. It is only when we fail to accommodate for these issues that problems begin to arise. That is what “aging in place” is all about.
Of course, it could also be the case that you have an elderly loved one or family member that you want to begin caring for. Whatever your scenario, a few home improvements can really help change your home to a friendly abode for elderly or disabled loved ones. Why move to a whole new home when the one you live in can be adapted to fit your needs – usually for a fraction of the price and effort involved with moving!
Simple Home Remodeling Tips for Aging In Place
Here are some simple, yet effective tips to help make your home safe and “user-friendly” no matter the age or ability of your family members.
Add Lighting Fixtures to Increase Visibility
Aging in place is all about safety, and one contributing factor to safety concerns is poor visibility. Tripping over clutter can lead to a nasty spill – something we always want to avoid. One way we can do so is to add lighting to areas such as hallways, closets, underneath kitchen cabinets – anywhere that someone might access that is currently in a poorly lit area. Consider using soft light bulbs that can blind or impede vision and are harsh on the eyes. Soft lighting is also a great way to make a room seem warm and more inviting!
Coat Your Shower or Bathtub with Anti-Slip Coating
Another potential hazard is the bathroom. Floors can easily become slippery – especially with tiled showers and even in bathtubs. Applying a layer of anti-slip coating, some handrails or “grab bars,” and even slip-resistant mats can go a long way toward preventing a life-altering fall.
Convert your Bathtub to a Walk-in Shower Unit
If the budget and space allows, sometimes a complete bathroom renovation is a great solution for aging in place. Real estate agents will always advise keeping at least one tub unit in your home for resale, but that is not what this blog post is about. This is your forever home and we want to make it user friendly for you not the next home owner. As we get older, the ability or safety of stepping over the edge of a tub unit can be difficult. Having a zero clearance or low threshold shower stall can make life so much easier.
Whether it is for wheelchairs, walkers or even increased sensitivities to dust, dander or other allergens...removing carpeting and replacing it with LVP or luxury vinyl planking is not only a great option, but is also very low maintenance.
Change Cabinet Hardware and Doorknobs
Of course, “aging in place” home remodeling is not only about safety – another big part of this home design process is accessibility. A cheap and relatively easy way to make your home easier to access is to replace the type of door handles and drawer pulls in your home. You would be surprised how much easier a simple “D” styled drawer-pull on a kitchen cabinet is to open. Likewise, lever handles or door-bars make opening doors if you have your hands full or use a walker much easier. Sliding drawers and self-closing drawers are another great kitchen design that not only increase ease of access, but add great functionality as well!
Make Living Areas Wheelchair Accessible
When people think of wheelchair accessibility, handicap ramps and widened doorways typically come to mind. These are definitely great home additions, but don’t forget to make every area – and even appliances – easy for wheelchair bound loved ones to interact with. Consider having a hollow space under kitchen sinks for wheelchairs to have space to fit underneath, and don’t shy away from raising or lowering cabinets, stoves and dishwashers to make them easier to use. For instance, raising the height of your dishwasher a few inches can alleviate a lot of pressure on your back when you are loading and unloading dishes.