For many people, as they move from one phase of their lives to another, they choose buying a new home that fits more with their routine. Yet for others, moving isn’t the right option – they would much rather stay in the home and the community they are familiar with.
Aging doesn’t mean it’s time to move. Instead, consider home remodeling with seniors in mind.
In many areas, living space isn’t on one level. The bedrooms and baths are up a flight of stairs; the laundry and recreation areas are down another flight.
While there’s little you can do to eliminate the stairs in these situations, there are some remodeling techniques that can make your home more livable.
As a home ages, the cement walkways and stairs can begin to wear and crumble. Consider replacing it with new walkways, and incorporate curves and ramps instead of stairs. Re-grade the front porch to make it more accessible.
In some cases, you simply can’t change stairways. Install solid railings, and make sure they can bear the full weight of a person. Also consider installing railings on both sides of the walkway, further aiding the person navigating the stairs.
Restructure Living Areas
How can you make things more accessible, even for temporary situations?
Laundry rooms are often in the basements down a flight of stairs. Why not build a laundry room on the main level? Or consider getting a stackable washer and dryer unit that fits into a closet by the kitchen.
It’s also important to make one floor accessible for temporary living for short periods of time. Is there a bedroom and bathroom on the same level as the kitchen? If not, can you convert a half bath to a full, and convert living or dining space into a temporary bedroom?
Also consider widening hallways. Make them accessible for wheelchairs, or for two people to easily fit down the hallway next to each other for support. Railings can also be installed for support.
Avoid flooring that can make tripping and falling easy. Thick padding is hard to maneuver in a wheelchair. And slippery floors or throw rugs can make falling more probable.
If you’ve never thought about remodeling your home with a senior in mind, make sure you work with a remodeling expert that understands aging in place.