There are many factors that are driving the trend toward more people Aging-in-Place at home. First and foremost, people simply don’t want to leave their home if they can help it. Most people find the idea of staying in their home a far more appealing option than the alternative. Most people would rather alter their existing home to accommodate their changing needs as they age than move to an assisted living facility, downsize or relocate. It’s understandable that for many aging adults, the idea of leaving the place where they have built a life, a family, and a community of friends and neighbors is not appealing at all. The idea of moving can also be daunting, especially if we’re not feeling physically up to the task. In fact, the prospect of having to essentially start over and to re-establish oneself in a whole new environment can be downright overwhelming.
Yet, as we age, we are often faced with physical limitations or other challenges that make staying at home difficult, without modifications. However, Aging-in-Place design offers solutions that can help people achieve their deeply felt wish to stay at home.
Below we review a new custom home we designed for one of our clients that illustrates some of the Aging -in-Place kitchen and bathroom design features that enable people to stay in their homes but with improved accessibility, comfort, and safety.
Now is a great time to remodel your bathroom or kitchen with Aging-In-Place features to support you comfortably now and into your future! Call us at (410) 643-4040 to make an appointment with our kitchen and bath designers and to view our showroom and consult with our experts to design the just-right features that will allow you to stay in your home indefinitely.
The phrase “Aging In Place” means living in your home safely, independently and comfortably, regardless of your age or ability level.To age in place it is necessary to modify your house as you mature to increase access and maneuverability. By planning ahead during construction or renovation you give yourself the opportunity to plan accordingly so that your home has the ability to grow with and remain as functional as possible. A lot of these modifications can be incorporated into a new construction plan or during renovations. These adaptions are functional for normal everyday use so incorporating them early will not reduce your current quality of life. The changes can be as major as adding a bedroom or bathroom to the main level of your home to as modest as adding grab bars in the bathroom. 78% of those aged 50-64 have said they want to live in their own residence as long as possible. Staying in your own home as you age takes planning and help, but the rewards are many. Whether you live alone or with a spouse, aging in place keeps you closer to family, maintains your independence and connects you to your community. And, it costs less in the long run. Read on to find out some ways to help you improve your quality in life as you age.
Accessibility – Ramps and stairlifts make homes easier to stay in as mobility declines. Also, add grab bars to stairs, tubs and showers.
Bathroom Upgrade – Getting in and out of a bathtub and shower combination can be dangerous as seniors’ agility declines. Tub Cut is an affordable option for converting a tub to a shower. Curbless showers for wheelchair access are also an option. Both of these options are designed to help you maintain your independence.
Energy Efficiency – Many seniors rely completely on a fixed income and every dollar counts. Save money on electricity and gas, and stay comfortable, when you upgrade to energy-efficient heating and cooling systems as well as appliances. Check attic insulation and upgrade windows with energy efficient replacement windows. The energy cost savings will continue to add up, and if the upgrades/replacements are done before December 31, 2013, you’ll also qualify for a substantial tax credit.
Floors – Prevent falls (the leading cause of disability in older people) by removing throw rugs, relocating furniture, securing loose wires, using non-skid spray on tile and linoleum floors and maintaining a wide area for movement in hallways and pathways in other rooms. Also, consider whether your hallways and rooms are clear enough for a wheelchair to get through easily.
Lighting – Dimly lit areas present another fall hazard. As eyesight declines, it’s important to address lighting issues throughout the house, taking extra care that light fixtures have at least two bulbs in vital areas such as the entryway, bathrooms and kitchen. This way, when one bulb burns out, you still have light in that area. Make sure light switches are low enough to easily reach from a wheelchair.
Alarm System – Elderly people are often targeted by burglars and a security system can not only help thwart criminals, but provide peace of mind and often make it easier to get emergency services.
Door knobs and Cabinets – Arthritis and other conditions make it harder to open doors and cabinets. Replace door knobs and cabinet hardware with levers, which are much easier to grasp.
Risers – Getting out of bed or standing up from a sitting position gets harder as we age. The lower the furniture, the harder it is. Installing bed risers, using power seat uplift assists and rising recliners make it easier to get up and down.
Door Entry Intercoms – Answering the door can be difficult for those who can’t get up from a sitting position easily, but an intercom allows you to communicate with the person outside the door, and even press a button to let them in, all from where you are sitting.
Personal Response System – A lifesaver for seniors who live alone, a personal emergency response system is a lightweight, battery-powered “help” button that is carried by the user. It transmits to a console connected to the user’s telephone. When emergency help is needed, such as medical, fire, or police, the user can press the transmitter’s “help” button, sending a radio signal to the console which then automatically dials one or more emergency telephone numbers.
Aging in place is a choice. Making these choices gives you control over your independence, quality of life and dignity.Currently, the majority of seniors aged 65 and older are living either with a spouse or alone in their own home. Many of these elderly people already struggle with fulfilling everyday tasks. As Certified Aging in Place Specialists (CAPS), Lundberg Builders has the answers to your questions. We have been taught the strategies and techniques for designing and building aesthetically enriching, barrier-free environments. For more information, please call us at (410) 643-3334.