How You Should Modify Your House if You Are Considering Aging in Your Home
More and more Americans are choosing to age in their home. For many, it’s the convenience of staying close to friends and family. For others, it’s about remaining independent. Whatever your reasoning, if you plan to age in place there are a few things you should consider modifying in your home to keep you comfortable.
Home Sweet Home
According to the AARP, 87 percent of adults 65 and older want to stay in their home and community as they age. Retirement homes are a turn off for many, especially when there are more and more options available that make living at home possible and affordable for seniors.
Many communities are reacting to this growing population by providing healthcare and social services to its aging adults. There are local services that help with transportation, home maintenance, and organize social activities designed to keep you happy and independent on your own.
Where to Begin
If you do want to age in place, start planning now. You want adjustments in place before the need actually arises so you can gracefully transition. With this in mind, AgingCare.com recommends your renovations focus on independence, mobility, safety, comfort, and convenience.
Start by taking a walk through of your home. Spend time in each room and think of how you use it and how that may change as you age. Are your doors wide enough to allow for easy access for a wheelchair if necessary? Are the floors slippery and needing to be replaced? Will you need to install a ramp or will adding more railings on either side of the stairs be enough?
Thinking about how you use your home will help you decide which modification projects to prioritize. However, if undertaking a large modification project is not for you, you may instead consider downsizing to a more manageable home with the right accessibility features, such as a full bathroom and bedroom on the ground floor.
Beware of Tripping Hazards
Every year, about one-third of seniors will injure themselves from falling. To help minimize your risk, go through each room and look for potential hazards. Make sure there is enough space between furniture for wide, clear paths and remove or tape down area rugs.
The bathroom is the room highest at risk for falls. Water and tile are a dangerous combination. Install bathroom bars near the toilet and in the shower and bath. If you can afford it, consider building a walk-in shower. However, if money is tight there are many affordable shower chair options available.
Keep it Functional
If you are going to continue living in your home, you need to make sure it will continue to work for you. The kitchen is a great place to focus on if you wish to remain independent.
Consider whether you will need to lower the counters or install adjustable surfaces that allow for sitting and wheelchair access. Look at the sink too. Does that potentially need to be lowered? Or will a levered faucet do? It is also a good idea to move items you use the most to easily accessible places.
Finding the Right Person for the Job
Choosing to modify your home is a big decision that will require help, and finding the right contractor to tackle the job is a big task. Start by asking friends and family for recommendations. Ideally, you can find someone who has already done similar home renovations. USA News suggests interviewing at least three contractors and urges you to check their references.
Before you start any work, sign a detailed contract and get the proper permits. Be mindful of your renovation budget. Things always come up, so you should plan on paying 10 percent to 15 percent more than the price you agree on. Create a payment schedule and do not pay 100 percent unless the job is fully complete.
Aging With Grace
With so many seniors choosing to age in their home, there’s no reason for you to avoid considering the same option. You’ll be able to stay independent while keeping close to family and friends. Taking the time to modify your home now will help keep you comfortable as you get older.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash.