Aging in Place – Best Home Renovations for Seniors

Home Renovations for Seniors: The Complete Guide

As we begin to age, we start looking at things from a different perspective, a wiser set of eyes.

It seems as though every decision we make is governed by what is more comfortable and practical, rather than flashy or fun. We are less spontaneous, and instead more thoughtful with our choices.

Aging in place renovations

The same is true about our homes and the way we adapt them to our needs as we age. Typical desires for a thirty-year-old will generally differ from those of a sixty-year-old. Not to mention the needs of a person of any age who has a physical limitation.

Here at GreatBuildz, a free service that connects homeowners in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura & San Diego with reliable general contractors, we talk to seniors all the time about remodeling – here are some things to consider when aging in place.

1) Accessibility

2) Reachability

3) Bathrooms

4) Safety

Aging in place

Accessibility

Making your home easier to navigate is crucial, not only for you but for family members or professionals to assist you.

If you are doing a major renovation, try locating all necessary rooms on the first-level floor. The bathroom, kitchen, bedroom, and main living area should all be accessible without the need to climb stairs.

You may want to consider putting in a small laundry room on the main level as well. The less you have to navigate stairs, the better. If you’re changing any flooring materials, make sure that they are planned to not have any major thresholds or transition pieces between rooms. Any height difference in flooring materials between rooms can become a trip hazard. If you have areas of your home with different floor heights, consider using a gently sloped ramp to bridge those areas.

If you are doing a major renovation, try locating all necessary rooms on the first-level floor.

Also give thought to broadening the doorways by a few inches, to a more ‘wheelchair-friendly’ 36-inch opening. Another good idea is to switch from doorknobs to door handles, as they are much easier to grasp.

No one knows what the future holds, but it’s nice to be prepared for whatever may occur.

Aging in Place - Best Home Renovations for Seniors 1

Reachability

As we get older, we sometimes battle against our homes to get through our daily routines. Tasks that we used to do without any resistance, suddenly become an obstacle in the flow of our day. Thus, it’s smart to plan for these instances when planning renovations for seniors.
Aging in place reachability
Try having your designer plan for lower countertop heights. This will make it easier for you to reach items at the back of the counter, and working at the sink will be more comfortable as well. This will also allow for your wall cabinets to be a bit lower, giving you better reachability to the items within.
Avoid creating cabinets and shelving that are either too high or too low to the ground.  Bending down to reach for common items is not an ideal scenario.  When you’re planning a kitchen, consider including pull out shelves so you don’t have to reach deep into a pantry to find what you’re looking for.

Bathrooms

Upon returning home after back surgery, I found that the most painful thing to do was also quite embarrassing.

I’ll admit it: one of the hardest things to do after back surgery is sitting down on the toilet.

I realized that if I had planned better, it would have been a good idea to install grab bars before the surgery!

Aging in Place

Now that I have them, they are great! Grab bars and handrails give you that extra little bit of help you need, particularly when you don’t really want a person assisting you. For that matter, they would also come in quite handy near your bed, or near your seat in the living area. I’d personally say that grab bars are essential for anyone aging in place.

Grab bars around the toilet and in the shower make access for seniors much easier when using various areas in the bathroom. In addition, you might consider a step-in shower with a very low threshold or no threshold at all.  This will allow easy access into the shower without a large ‘shower dam’ that you need to step over.  

Safety

Safety is the most essential element to plan for when aging in place.

It’s undeniable – unsteadiness is simply a byproduct of aging. As you are planning a home renovation, don’t let your newly designed home work against you.

To prevent falls, try carpeting as much of the floor as possible, or opt for some type of non-slip rubber flooring tiles. Unsteadiness and a slick floor are a recipe for disaster – may as well plan ahead and limit risks wherever you can.

If you have a two story home, make sure all banisters are ultra secure.  If you need to lean up against the banister to steady yourself when you walk up or down the stairs, it needs to be secure enough to hold all your weight.  In addition, make sure all light switches are easily accessible in the right places to make it easy to turn on the lights.  And ensure areas like the bottom and top of the stairs are well lit for good visibility.

Final Notes

Identifying your specific needs is the most important factor when it comes to home renovations for seniors.

When planning a renovation to accommodate aging in place, identify tasks that are the most difficult on a day to day basis. Perhaps even keep a “notes for the remodel” journal to record your ideas as you design your new home.

Aging in place renovation notes

If there is a daily task you shudder at the thought of because it is hard, dangerous, or outright impossible, write it down. By the time you are ready to hire a contractor, you’ll be completely prepared with all your needs and wants.

Aging is just another verse in the song of life. Rather than being intimidated by your new physical limitations, meet the challenge head on- through wiser eyes. Be a finesse player rather than a power player, brains over brawn, and you can make your golden years as simple and enjoyable as your youth.

Your home is an extension of you. If you choose to age in place, make your home work for you by following these tips for renovations for seniors.

When it comes to finding the best contractor for your project – GreatBuildz is simplifying the contractor search in Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura & San Diego Counties. GreatBuildz is a free service that connects homeowners with reliable, thoroughly screened contractors and provides project support from start to finish.

 

 

Call now (818.317.3567) to chat with a real person about your next renovation project or visit our website for more information: www.greatbuildz.com

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