Aging in Place – Optional Renovations for a Senior-Friendly Home

Most people want to “Age in Place” as long as possible (90% according to AARP).  This involves growing older in your own home or in another residence that is more adaptable to future needs. When homes are “senior friendly” and enough services are put in place, seniors can often stay in their own residences. If you’ve missed Part One of Aging In Place, you can read it here: Aging In Place – Can I Say In My Home

Will your home actually work for you as you get older?

(From the book “The Best of the Rest – Downsizing for Boomers and Seniors” our chapter 2)

A note of caution: When planning renovations try to have them done so they don’t distract from the resale value of your home. Although you plan to live there sometimes it is necessary to sell relatively quickly. There are many renovations that add to the value of a home but some can distract and make it more difficult to get the monetary value out.

The Bathroom

Most bathrooms in older homes need to be adopted to meet the special needs of seniors. Many washroom doors are too narrow to accommodate a walker or wheelchair. Also if the bathroom is small, a fall against the door could block rescuers. A pocket door that slides into the wall is a good preventative measure. Another option is a quality folding door.

 A door that is wide enough to accommodate a walker (if needed)

A shower or walk-in tub

A new “raised” toilet

Arthritic-friendly taps with a heat regulator

Professionally installed grab bars (There are some fabulous new decorative ones)

Accessible drawers for storage

Proper lighting (a priority!)  and Decora light switches

Phone, intercom or emergency button

A floor surface that is senior-friendly and easy to maintain

The Kitchen

Excellent lighting!  Decora light switches

A walker or wheel-chair friendly entrance.  

Cupboards that are adjusted to convenient heights

D-shaped handles rather than knobs

Pivoting or rotating shelves in corner cabinets

Countertops with rounded edges (seniors bruise so easily on sharp edges)

Faucet with a single lever to control temperature and flow

Sufficient electrical outlets in convenient locations

A vertical cupboard or pantry

A stove with accessible knobs

A heat-proof surface beside the stove

A convenient height and location for the microwave

A floor surface that is senior-friendly and easy to maintain

Entrance door

Well- lit area

Door at least 32 inches wide

Lever door handles

A keyless locking system

Exterior ramp

Some seniors have great difficulty handling one step let alone several. A ramp can mean they are not a prisoner in their own home. Have it professionally designed and installed if possible. We have seen several that were constructed of interlocking bricks and, at first, you didn’t even know that it was a ramp.

Not too steep

A landing at the bottom and top (and perhaps half way up)

A surface that is not slippery when wet

Handrails on both sides of the ramp

Lower guardrails to keep walkers and wheelchairs “on track.”

Is continuing to live in your home a reality for you or your loved one? Not sure? Call us and let’s talk about the best option for you.

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