Aging in place requires adaptations over time, both in the lifestyle and immediate surroundings. Seniors who highly value their independence should consider certain home renovations that can make their daily tasks as effortless as possible.
WHAT DOES THE HOME RENOVATION PROCESS DEPEND ON?
All renovations to consider when aging in place start with a detailed planning phase. No two homes are the same, nor are their owners. Take time to get familiar with the renovation process from start to finish. It is vital if you want to conduct the planning and budgeting tasks properly.
However, keep in mind what you want to achieve with your home remodeling. To make aging in place comfortable, focus on features that allow.
maximum accessibility – such as sufficiently wide rooms, hallways, and entrances,
safety – easy to reach cabinets and anti-slip flooring, bathroom features and fixtures,
night visibility – sensor lighting and/or smart switches at convenient locations.
Planning your home remodeling to better suit you (sooner or) later in life begins with enlisting all traits of a safe, cost-efficient, low-maintenance residence. Start with those that matter to you the most.
1. AN IDEAL HOME FOR SENIORS HAS JUST THE RIGHT SIZE
Not too big, too small, but just right has become a widely applicable saying, particularly appropriate when it comes to seniors’ homes. It doesn’t surprise that empty-nesters decide to move to smaller quarters. Moreover, those who live in multilevel homes often consider moving downstairs and setting up their daily life on the ground level. Upper-level rooms can always serve as much-needed storage for items that are used seasonally.
However, if your downsized NYC home renovation indeed comes as a part of the moving process, use every help you can get. Declutter your home, pack only the most useful belongings, and rely on moving professionals to help you settle in into your new home. If packing and unpacking pose a problem, hire packing experts to help you out.
But before you bring your belongings into your home, make necessary home adaptations. Once your furniture is set in place, it will be much harder to conduct any work and protect your items from dust and grime.
2. IN THE SPOTLIGHT: UPGRADED LIGHTING
Lighting fixtures play a vital role in every home, but even more so when it comes to seniors’ homes. The switches should be easy to reach and operate, so it might be better to replace the traditional ones with modern touch switches, lighted switches, or a combination of these two contemporary designs.
For the corridors, take into account sensor lighting. It is doubly beneficial: it saves electricity and removes the need to tap the walls in search of the switches. Motion detector lights are also helpful on the outside and should be considered for the path leading to the home and at the entrance.
3. FLOOR RENOVATIONS THAT IMPROVE OVERALL SAFETY
Most serious accidents happen at home due to slips and trips, but they are even more threatening to the elderly. Home renovations to consider when aging in place involve choosing the best quality materials for foyers and hallways but all the other rooms as well. These materials should ensure that surfaces are easy to clean but do not pose a risk of slipping or falling.
Replacing your smooth floor tiles with slip-resistant flooring is a worthy investment. And lastly, don’t forget to remove thresholds, making all the entrances the same level – floor level. Tripping over a threshold is one of the most common causes of home injuries, especially for seniors.
4. KNOBS YOU CAN EASILY HANDLE
Door knobs and window handles can prove quite an obstacle to somebody with arthritis or older adults. Replacing these with handles that are easier to operate should be a part of your home renovation. They include lever handles for doors, and extended lever handles and long-handled window pulls for windows.
On the other hand, you can replace bathroom and kitchen cabinetry knobs and pull bars with push-to-open mechanisms. They require a gentle push to open and make cabinet surfaces simpler to clean.
5. BATHROOM RENOVATIONS TO CONSIDER WHEN AGING IN PLACE
Wherever there’s water, there’s a possibility of fall. It makes bathrooms a focal point of home renovations to consider when aging in place. Bathtubs are highly impractical for aging people and should be replaced with walk-in showers. It is advisable to install a shower seat within, accompanied by grab rails.
Strategically placed grab rails (also called grab bars) should have an anti-slip surface for better grip. If possible, install a foot pedal faucet for a lower water bill and improved mobility. At last, take into account comfort-height toilets instead of regular height ones.
6. A STAIRWAY TO SAFETY
Living on the ground level is always a two-faced coin. While it allows better mobility to elderly residents, it often imposes security concerns for many seniors. Additionally, avoiding staircases is not always possible and installing a home elevator is not affordable.
However, a ramp (stair lift or chair lift) is a good, safe, and relatively budget-friendly solution for the elderly living in multi-story homes. If moving to a one-level apartment sounds like a better option, a high-rise condo building with at least two elevators is a safer and more secure solution.
7. HOME ACCESSORIES THAT SHOULD BE AVOIDED
If you can’t afford to remodel your residence to suit your needs better, you can make some economic adjustments that won’t break the bank instead. Avoid bedroom throw rugs or any floor covers that can move beneath your feet. Wall to wall carpet tiles are easy to vacuum and wash, should they get stained.
Seniors with walking impediments might need more space to move their wheel walkers or walker frames. You can replace traditional floor cabinets and cupboards with open shelves or shallow wall-mounted cabinets with sliding doors. Ideally, you should place the shelves and medicine cabinets between waist and eye level for easier access.