Over the last few decades, “aging in place”, or “aging at home”, has become more common as baby boomers make decisions and consider their options about how they want to spend their golden age. The majority of people don’t want a nursing facility if they can help it. Most older Americans prefer to remain in their homes where they are safe, independent, and comfortable. This is when home improvement comes in.
To accommodate the needs and wants of older owners, many homes require specific modifications. Start with this aging-in-place checklist if you’re considering remodeling your house for this purpose.
Handyman Tips: Age-In Place Home Improvement Checklist
Increase bathroom safety.
If you intend to live in your house, a full bathroom on the first floor should be your top priority. This is for safety, convenience, and expediency. This might seem expensive if you have to build it from scratch, but the alternative would be installing an elevator or lift – both of which are much more expensive. Wheelchairs and walkers can easily maneuver through wider doorways that are at least 32 inches in width. In the main bathing space, additional safety features should include a shower without a curb with grab bars and benches. Handyman Conway can help remodel your bathroom to accommodate your needs.
Eliminate all stairs and steps.
We become less agile as we age. As we age, our balance is less stable and falls are more likely to occur. Avoid stairs at all costs. There should be no steps between the rooms, and at least one no-step covered entry. Rearrange the layout of your home if you have multiple levels so that your main living spaces can be reached from the main floor. Contact a handyman for help building a ramp if you want to continue to use your deck.
Smooth transitions between floors and rooms are important. They reduce the risk of tripping. Tile and hardwood are the hardest surfaces for wheelchairs and walkers, but they can also be the most unforgiving when you fall. Area rugs are a great way to soften the floor, but they can also be a trip hazard. Carpeting that is no higher than 1/2 inch with firm padding and not too thick will be your best choice. Vinyl flooring in high quality is an excellent compromise if you like the look of tile or hardwood. It is softer, but it still looks the same as real hardwood or tile.
Install lever-style door handles.
As we age, our muscle strength diminishes. Arthritis and other joint problems make it difficult to use traditional knobbed handles. This problem can be quickly and inexpensively fixed by replacing round doorknobs. These lever-style handles open with just a small amount of downward pressure.
Increase the lighting.
A trip over a cord or an object left on the ground can cause a serious fall. Increase the wattage of your existing light fixtures and consider adding recessed lighting in rooms with only one or two light sources. You can also use nightlights to illuminate dark hallways or for navigation at night. Renovating your home? Get professional help from your local handyman.