If your vision of retirement includes staying right where you are as long as possible, you’re not alone. Many seniors prefer not to leave beloved homes or familiar neighborhoods. Fortunately, a smart home remodel can allow active seniors to maintain their independence and be a cost-effective alternative to early entry into an expensive assisted-living facility. Thoughtful design throughout the home can minimize potential safety hazards and compensate for aging changes to maintain a good quality of life for years to come.
A typical area of concern is the bathroom, which is full of hard and slippery surfaces. Aging in Place design goes well beyond simply adding grab bars to your existing bathroom. Recommended changes can include enlarging bathroom spaces and widening door frames to accommodate the possible use of a walker or wheelchair, replacing slick tile floors with textured materials, eliminating the threshold at the shower entrance to prevent tripping, and installing a comfort-height toilet for ease in rising. And those grab bars? They’re available in a variety of tasteful forms and finishes to fit your personal style.
Kitchens are another area that can benefit from a thoughtful redesign. Drawer-mounted appliances such as microwaves eliminate the need to reach overhead for heavy items. Relocating storage from wall-mounted cabinets into drawers and lazy susans within floor cabinets can also help accessibility when bending or reaching are no longer quite so easy. Adding a seated work space can provide a good place for cooking prep work when standing for long periods of time isn’t easy, and replacing hard tile with a more forgiving floor surface can help prevent back and hip pain. Additional lighting for countertops can help compensate for reduced vision, and adding outlets at the backsplash level prevents having to bend down to plug appliances in.
Stairs may present a challenge in a home, but not an insurmountable one. Alternatives include remodeling rooms on the main level of the house to include both a master bedroom and a bathroom, so all activity can be done on one level if necessary; installing a lift on the staircase; or even adding an elevator between levels. Even in ranch-style houses, there may still be stairs to deal with, such as a few steps at the entrance or steps into the house from the garage. Remodeling can either eliminate steps or add ramps to eliminate hazards.
Working with a certified Aging in Place specialist can help identify improvements specific to your needs now and those that will allow you to enjoy your home for years to come. Sea Pointe Construction has several such specialists on staff to assist you. Let us help you enjoy your retirement without leaving behind the places that you love.
Image: © Temistocle Lucarelli / Dollar Photo Club