No one wants to think about becoming disabled or too old to safely stay in their own home. Images of sterile nursing homes abound, with wide linoleum hallways, wheelchair ramps and stainless-steel grab bars come to mind.
According to Baby Boomer Magazine, 76 million Americans are reaching the age of retirement. The vast majority (75 percent according to AARP) would prefer to Age-In-Place so that they can continue to live in their own home or community, and many may be considering bringing a parent home to live with them.
In today’s market, professional remodelers and designers can utilize “Universal Design” principles to incorporate beautiful designs that accommodate everyone’s accessibility needs.
If you are considering a remodel, one of the first questions I ask my clients is “what are your intentions with the home?” Remodeling should be considered something you do to maintain your home and keep in line with how you live within the space. If your answer is that this is my last home, you’ll want to consider the following principals to incorporate into your plan:
1. The bathroom is one of the main areas for renovation. Replace the tub with a barrier free shower that creates a comfortable bathing experience. Europeans have incorporated these types of enclosures for years. Today’s manufacturers are producing many options to have a stylish shower that is moderately priced and simpler to install.
2. Grab bars come in many forms and finishes. In fact, often times you may even replace a standard towel bar with one of these options for added stability and safety.
3. Is there a bedroom or room that can be re-purposed on the main floor of the home? 4. Assess doorways and entrances to the home. You will want to have a minimum of 32” and preferred 36” clearance for doorways. Lastly, consider the path to a vehicle. Is there a level path, ramp or sidewalk?
5. Replace door hardware and sink fixtures with lever handles for ease of use.
6. Take notice of the lighting. Entrances, hallways and work areas should be well lit.
7. Assess the kitchen and its ability to allow access.
By incorporating Universal Design into your remodeling project, you can be sure that you will enjoy your space today and in the future. Think about it: Does the space you occupy allow you to recuperate at home or will you have to find alternate arrangements?
April Bettinger, owner of Nip Tuck Remodeling is a CAPS certified professional (Certified Ageing In Place). www.niptuckremodel.com