March 12, 2012

Ideas for Aging in the Home You Love

We all know our population is aging. By 2050, according to the U.S. Census, 20 percent of the current U.S. population will be over 65. While that isn’t old these days, the retirement age often signals changes in a person’s mobility.

A fact I find interesting: AARP reports that nine of 10 seniors in the U.S. won’t move from their current homes when they retire. Only five percent will eventually retire to places like senior living residences – which, of course, already are equipped with furnishings designed for residents with physical limitations. These numbers suggest that people should build or remodel now with the future in mind, before they’re forced to move because their physical condition dictates it. Good design makes this possible!

Waypoint Living Spaces style 610D Maple Hazelnut

A lowered table that is part of an island is a design feature that works for people of all abilities.

From wider doorways to convenient roll out shelves in kitchen cabinets, it’s easy to plan ahead. This is called Universal Design. The best description I ever heard for this term is: some things are good for all of us. Who wouldn’t like a bigger bathroom that could eventually provide room for a wheelchair to turn around easily or great lighting that meets current needs as well as in the future when more lighting is needed for aging eyes?

Waypoint's style 410S in Maple Espresso

Bathroom storage that goes down to the counter is helpful as range of motion becomes an issue. Note the backsplash extension that goes under the cabinets protecting them from splashing water.

Bathrooms need special attention: most importantly, floors should be made of non slippery material. Interestingly, smaller tiles with more grout lines offer better traction. Even if the need for a grab bar at the toilet area is years away, plan for it now. It’s easy to add blocking in the wall during renovation so installing a grab bar in the future is a breeze. I always recommend grab bars in tubs and showers for everyone. They are a safety must for all ages. Again, some things are good for all of us.

Remodeling with an eye to the future is always a good idea. Making remodeling choices that ensure a long comfortable life in the home you love is a great idea for all of us.

Connie Edwards CKD, CBD, Waypoint Living Spaces