Aging In Place: Three Stories and Three Issues

For over a decade now, “aging in place” has become a long running trend of home remodeling projects and even part of pre-retirement planning. According to an AARP survey, 90% of adults surveyed in the United States stated they want to remain independent and in their homes for as long as is reasonably possible.

And we’re continuing to help people make good on these decisions to update their homes to age in place. In January alone, we had three families exploring options and making plans with us for their age in place remodeling projects. One person is planning for the future and discussing bathroom safety and accessibility features. Another family still has high schoolers, but they want to start now to remodel to accommodate their needs in 20 + years. The third appointment was a follow up with a couple who want a residential elevator installed as part of their overall aging in place remodel plan.

When our designers work with individuals and couples, we focus on three primary areas for the aging in place remodel: Safety, Mobility and Accessibility.  Here’s a quick overview of some of the projects we regularly are trusted to complete to install senior friendly features and functionality in bathrooms and kitchens  – where the most risk is present and, unfortunately, the most incidents happen.

Safety

  • Install a zero-clearance shower that has no threshold or steps.
  • Add a shower seat for a quick respite as needed and to simply allow a person to shower while seated if they’re unable to stand for any length of time.
  • Add fixtures with pull-out shower handles for ease of rinsing. There are now faucets that monitor temperature to avoid scalding.
  • Replace the toilet with a comfort-height model.
  • Add some grab bars in the shower and near the toilet for additional security.

Mobility

  • Create an entrance into the house with no-threshold to reduce the risk of tripping and ease of use for walkers.
  • Remodel at least one entry without stairs by either adding a ramp or a longer slope as space allows for wheelchair access.
  • Flooring options are much more friendly without carpet, but make sure any rugs on smooth surfaces are skid resistant to avoid slips and falls.
  • Chair lifts have greatly improved in appearances and residential elevators have been streamlined to work well with existing structures. Both of these options allow a person to have access to all levels of their home.

 Accessibility

  • Allow for less bending, stooping and reaching with higher dishwashers
  • Install drawers instead of lower cabinets to minimize the need for bending and reaching.
  • Lower the height of an eating counter as part of an island to 29 to 30 inches from the floor which is comfortable for kitchen chairs rather than barstools.

These are only a few of the remodeling projects that help people feel comfortable and safe as they age in place. Anytime you are considering a remodeling contractor, be sure to check them out thoroughly. Another regrettable trend is remodeling contractors scamming an older or disabled person. We have earned the trust of our customers in the Atlanta metro area for over 70 years. We will treat your decisions with the utmost care and concern. Please contact us if you’re thinking about your options to age in place or if you have an aging loved one who is coming to live with you or visits frequently.