The goal of aging in place is to allow a person to live in their home for as long as possible, with as much independence as possible. Mobility, vision, hearing, and overall health may change as a person gets older, but their comfort and community don’t have to.
A report from March 2020 claims that 86% of urban Canadians aged 54 and older would prefer to age in place. (1) Still, 36% of those study participants expect to move in their lifetime. This could be because they believe their current home will no longer suit their needs later in life.
Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are designed with the elderly in mind. Round the clock care and a safe, easy-to-navigate living space can make the golden years easier, physically. However, moving can take a mental and emotional toll.
The kinder, and even more cost-effective, choice may be to remodel your home in a way that makes aging in place possible.
The Price of Assisted Living
Despite best efforts, some in the aging community will require extra assistance. Although a home remodel can make it easier for an older person to move around, extreme health issues or memory loss may make entering a facility unavoidable.
However, if the issue is mobility (or a live-in caregiver is in the picture) a home remodel for aging in place could be the cheaper option. There are also loans and grants available for to help make these types of renovations more accessible to people on a fixed income.
You can save time, money, and stress by planning ahead and outfitting your home to suit your needs as you age. It’s important to think about your options now, before your health declines, so you don’t feel rushed into a decision later.
Home Improvements to Help You Age in Place
A 2017 report prepared for the Canadian Home Builders Association divides aging in place home modifications into two categories: minor home renovations and major home renovations. (4)
Minor home renovations may include things like adding grab bars or replacing a traditional bathtub with a barrier-free option.
Major renovations can include redesigning a space to make it more wheelchair or walker friendly, moving the master bedroom to the first floor, or adding space for a caregiver.
If you've lived in your home for many years, there may be some general upgrades needed to help modernize the home.
The Three Most Common Aging in Place Home Renovations
According to a 2020 article by Building Excellence, the three most common areas to modify when redesigning a space for senior living are the bathroom, entrance/stairway, and kitchen. (5)
Let’s examine how making even small changes to these spaces can extend the amount of time you are able to remain in your home:
Making the bathroom more senior-friendly can be as simple as installing a grab bar by the toilet or placing a seat in the shower. It could also involve a more extensive remodel, like replacing the tub with a walk-in option or a wheelchair-accessible shower. Some might opt to exchange slick tile flooring with something designed to prevent falls. A higher toilet could be beneficial, as well.
Choosing glass doors over shower curtains can also make the bathroom safer. In the event of a fall or loss of balance, doors will provide more support.
As walkers and wheelchairs become considerations, the way seniors enter and exit their homes (and rooms in their homes) is something that needs to be addressed. Installing a ramp has become more affordable with foldable, aluminum options available. Doorways can be widened to allow for easier access, and pocket doors can be a real space-saver. If the home has a second story, it may be possible to install a small elevator.
Replacing doorknobs with easy-to-use levers is something minor that can make aging in place easier. It’s hard to imagine a day when you might have trouble turning a doorknob, but these simple tasks could become more difficult.
If balance becomes unpredictable, kitchen counters and dining table corners could become hazardous. You can add foam to the corners, or you can retain visual appeal by creating rounded corners.
A big issue for seniors in the kitchen is maneuvering in the space. It becomes harder to carry pots and pans and access kitchen tools. One renovation idea to help with this issue is to add counter space. By making sure there is plenty of clear counter space, you’ll know there is always a place to set down a heavy pot.
Consider roll-out shelves in cabinets and pantries so you won’t have to get on your knees and dig around in the bottom cupboard. The kitchen is another room that may benefit from non-slip flooring and widening of the space for a walker or wheelchair.
Choose a Contractor with Experience in Remodeling Homes for the Elderly
It isn’t easy to think about ourselves or our loved ones growing older. It isn’t easy to think about our health and mobility failing. However, if we consider these issues early on and make changes to our home in advance, aging in place will seem less daunting.
Reborn Renovations has a team of designers and builders on hand to talk with you about your space and how to make it work better for you as you age. When we mention designers, the first thing that comes to mind is how to make a room beautiful, but we pride ourselves on functionality as well.
We are here to help make your home safe and beautiful so that you can age in place.
Contact Reborn Renovations today for a free consultation and in-home estimate.