As one of the largest generations in history (the often cited baby boomers) reaches the peak of their golden years, home design has had no choice but to follow suit. While some may opt to downsize or relocate, a growing segment would rather resolve to age in place. We completely understand, you spend a lifetime cultivating your roots and establishing a home and community. From connections with friends to treasured family memories, where we live houses our history; leaving that behind is no small thing. Beyond the sentimental, moving is also a massive undertaking – it’s exhausting!
If you’re thinking about remodeling your home to age in place, we’d highly recommend taking the time to do your research. Just as moving isn’t for everyone, remodeling is certainly not everyone’s cup of tea! Neither path is right or wrong; they both require planning, effort, and some expense. However, if you’ve decided to modify your existing home, we’d recommend concentrating on these five concerns first.
1. Bathroom Safety. Priority number one when it comes to aging in place safely? Bathroom modifications. Slippery surfaces can be incredibly hazardous, from walk-in tubs to shower seats; there are endless adjustments that can be made to promote greater bathroom safety!
2. Smart Spaces. Beyond more problem-prone places, the layout and intersection of different rooms is a vital aspect of aging in place. For example, does a late-night drink or bathroom break require a dark and daunting walk in your home? It may not matter now when you’re in good health, but imagine doing that multiple times a night with decreased mobility; probably less than ideal, right?
3. No-Nonsense Navigation. Creating unobstructed pathways is another important facet of universal design. Whether outdoors or inside, navigating from point A to point B should be simple. Sharp turns, steep climbs, uneven terrain, slippery surfaces, and long stretches without railings should all be addressed and resolved!
4. Knobs, Handles, and Buttons. Perhaps the easiest changes to make, swapping out cumbersome knobs, handles, and buttons is another excellent idea. Awkward or challenging movements are only exacerbated by age. Anticipate potential problem tasks before they arise!
5. Integrated Technology. New helpful home technology is popping up every day – use it to your advantage! Programable appliances and systems streamline the minutia of home management. Instead of worrying about setting the thermostat, turning off the oven, or finding a light switch, program and check everything from one central device.