With the rising cost in the housing market, more homeowners are opting to stay in place than ever before. Generations are staying more active later in life and with the ease of technology giving us basically everything we could need at our fingertips, remaining independent and staying in homes longer has become an easy alternative to downsizing or moving to into a retirement community.
Many families have spent years creating memories in their homes and want to remain there as long as possible. To be able to continue to live in place comfortably, some remodeling may be needed to make your home manageable and safe for your retirement years. As much as we want to fight it, aging changes the way we live everyday life and homes that were once easily navigated may have some new hazards. It’s important to step back and assess how you plan to utilize your home in the long run. Here are some long-term remodeling updates you can make to your home so you can live in place longer.
- Lighting – Add more light and try to keep the lighting similar throughout your house. Transitioning from one room to another should be easy on your eyes. Quality lighting and consistent lighting should be found throughout the house, making every day tasks easier to achieve. Adding under cabinet lights, appliance lighting, and flooring lighting are small, but beneficial updates for every day use.
- Flooring – a simple change to your flooring can make a world of difference when it comes to safety. Your new flooring should also be easy to clean. Slip-resistant and easy to clean are what you want to look for when searching for new floors in your home remodel to ensure comfort and safety.
- Update your bathtub – about 235,000 people a year are treated at the ER for bathroom related injuries with 1/3 of those injuries occurring while bathing or showering according to the CDC; small bathroom changes can create a safer experience for any lifestyle. While the remodeling market is trending towards the removal of bathtubs, many homeowners still enjoy soaking the day away in a nice tub. A walk-in tub is a great and safe alternative that allows you to keep your bathtub and removes the hazard that comes with stepping in and out of a deeper tub. With the step into the tub being only a few inches tall, rather than a couple feet, you can safely get into your tub.
- Update your shower - Curbless showers are a sleek way to enjoy your shower safely. With a curbless shower design, you can easily step in and out of your shower without the worry of tripping or falling over a ledge. To make your shower extra functional, adding in an adjustable and handheld shower head will help you reach those hard to get areas without having to contort your body and you will be able to easily adjust the height of the shower head to your liking. Think about adding a shower bench as well to give you that extra support while in the shower and added storage space for your toiletries.
- Grab bar installation – Throughout the bathroom, grab bars can be strategically placed as added support. Whether it be in the shower or near the toilet, grab bars have aesthetically come a long way and can seamlessly be added into a design with keeping the functionality.
- Change other plumbing fixtures – Think about making updates to your toilets and sinks. Lowering the height of your toilet will make sitting and standing easier on your joints and is an easy fix. Changes to your sink can include changing the height to make it easily accessible but also changing how your sink functions. Foot pedals or touch-less features can be a better alternative to your standard hot and cold knobs if you struggle with gripping or have arthritis.
- Overall updates - It's good to take a look at the overall structure and functionality of your home when planning a remodel for living in place. Make sure that all your pathways inside and outside of the house are even with no cracked or uneven surfaces, switch to appliances with controls and buttons that are easy to read and push, check water pressure and make sure that your hot and cold water temps work correctly, install railings on both sides of stairs if necessary, replace door knobs with easy to turn handles as well as making light switches easier to flip on and off.
Even though the older generations may be in better physical conditions than previous generations, aging still takes a toll with mobility and vision problems causing the most concern. When discussing your remodel, it’s important to talk with a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist(CAPS), like Custom Design & Construction in order to highlight changes that can be done to keep you living in place for a much longer time.