7 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Aging in Place
Do you enjoy the comforts of your home? Do you find the idea of moving to a care facility and having strangers assist you in your personal habits daunting? And how about the cost of an assisted living facilities? Steep! Even short-term stays can put a major strain on your retirement financials. Modifications to an existing home can be spendy; however, you have the advantage of monetary gain from your improvements. Here are the items you’ll need to address to keep you in the comfort of your home.
- Widen your doorways – Most interior doorways are between 30’-32”. Enlarging them to 36” to allow for wheelchairs, walkers or other mobility devices is typically doable. There are times when a light switch or receptacle must be moved, but this is typically an easy task.
- Kitchen modifications – Lowering the microwave to an under-the-counter location and installing a shallow sink are the two most common alterations. Open shelving is also becoming common.
- Bathroom alterations – An ADA height toilet, a no step shower with a bench and multiple handrails typically complete the bathroom improvements, but anti-slip flooring is also an item that should not be overlooked.
- Door handles – Converting your handles from knobs to levers makes entering and exiting much easier. Twisting a knob with weak or arthritic hand can be painful, difficult and frustrating. This simple and inexpensive upgrade is a quick-fix.
- Update Your Exterior Pathways - Rough terrain such as decorative stones, broken concrete, or dirt pathways can make wheelchairs, walkers, canes, or crutches very difficult to use. Consider resurfacing your existing dirt pathways with smooth pavers or new concrete.
- Ramps - Even single-story homes typically have stairs leading into the home. Luckily, there are several ramp solutions that can turn these hazards into accessible pathways for those with limited mobility. Collapsible ramps, portable ramps, poured concrete or a wooden ramp can help you quickly update any step into a wheelchair accessible entry. There are even threshold ramps that create a gentle slope through doorways for easier movement throughout the home.
- Adding a snore room – This is an amazingly trendy remodel. This room can also be used as an assistant’s room if needed or simply for a spouse with a nocturnal ruckus. You don’t always have to put an addition on to the home for this. Two small rooms can be converted into a new master with en-suite. If you’re looking at the bathroom alterations mentioned in #3, this may be a very minor upgrade.
Aging in place allows you to plan your future years before your home becomes uncomfortable and the options become expensive. It requires one to make choices in their living situation and can give family and friends a peace of mind. Transforming your home into a place you can remain is a wonderful alternative to moving. But if you decide to move, I’m here for you!