Home Improvements for Aging Homeowners
Aging in Place with Universal Design
By 2030, nearly one in five Americans will be over the age 65. Today, more than 35 million Americans are age 65 or above – a tenfold increase in the 65 and over population since 1900. As with anything that gains in population or popularity, there are new home solutions for homeowners looking to remain in their home as they age gracefully.
In past generations, it was assumed that when an individual or a couple reached a certain age, they were expected to live in a senior living community, retirement home, or move in with their children. That is not necessarily the case anymore. Many seniors still enjoy an active and high-quality retirement, and it isn’t always necessary to give up their autonomy or their home.
A growing specialty within the remodeling industry called Aging in Place or Universal Design allows active seniors to stay in their homes longer. Aging in Place / Universal Design is a design approach that seeks to create home environments and systems that can be used by as many people as possible and adapts the home to the physical needs of its occupants.
Home Safety Features for Seniors
Sea Pointe Construction works with Universal Design techniques such as installing a barrier-free walk-in shower in the bathroom, adding motion sensor lights to all the rooms in the house, placing aesthetically pleasing grab bars in the bedrooms and bathrooms for balance and assistance, putting in a lift on stairs, ensuring wheelchair access with proper clearances, and even installing an elevator between floors.
The National Kitchen and Bath Association provide Aging in Place design education and certification services. Sea Pointe Construction has several certified Aging in Place / Universal Design specialists on staff to help you design and construct a home remodel that is tailored to your family’s specific needs. You may consider this remodel in stages as you age gracefully in the home you love. You may consider adding universal design to your bathroom first as that may be the slipperiest of them all at any age. Next may be the kitchen as its where plenty of time is spent. Ask your Universal Design expert how to plan your Aging in Place remodel to best fit your needs.
What is Aging in Place?
The focus of Aging In Place is to help you ensure that you can live in the residence of your choice as you age, while getting any services or support you need over time as your needs change. However, it is more than just that. The goal of an elderly person (or anyone) wanting to age in place should be to maintain and/or improve their quality of life. In order to do that, a good plan that focuses on your quality of life and covers yourself, home, finances, care, and other items should be created as early as possible. Your plan should be maintained over time as your situation changes.
Aging brings changes to us all. As a person begins their aging in place experience, it is important for them to consider and plan for the changes that will happen to them and what impacts these changes will have on their lives. As we age, our bodies and capabilities change. Examples of changes you may experience are:
- Reduced vision
- Decreased muscle strength or endurance
- Reduced mental processing capabilities
- Increased risk of falls due to balance
- Increased risk of illness
- Reduced hearing
- Decreased mobility
These changes happen to most everyone in one form or another. Knowing that this is the case and choosing to have a plan to age in place means you will have a greater chance to control your quality of life and independence. Recent medical service evolution now puts nurses available to come to your home, keeping you independent for years to come.
The impact of these changes can be seen in the daily life of an elderly person. While your physical capabilities lessen and demand change, this can impact many of your daily activities, such as:
- Getting around your home easily
- Driving safely
- Home upkeep
- Health maintenance
- Many others
Planning also presents you with an opportunity to lessen the burden on your family by outlining how and where your needs are met. When you are ready to design your home for Aging in Place / Universal Design, let us know. This is one of our many remodeling certifications and expertise. Be sure to request an Aging in Place specialist to get your project rolling.