Praying and dreaming of a future where little changes – that’s what many of our senior loved ones are doing, as will more Americans as our population continues to age. Most people want to stay healthy, stay young and stay at home.
Naturally, how healthy we can remain is dependent on a variety of factors, some in our control and some out of our control. Eating right, staying physically active, keeping our brain sharp and picking our family tree (which, of course, we cannot do) will help keep us healthy.
Dreams can become a reality in our health outcomes when preparation meets success.
Likewise, we can control some factors to allow our senior loved ones to remain in our family home, if we choose that, as long as safely possible. This is another example of how preparation can meet with success. Remodeling is one way you can prepare to meet the future.
What You Can Do to Stay Home
Since an estimated 80% of us dream and, yes, even pray to remain in our homes, it is not surprising that caregivers across the country are taking actions to answer that prayer.
Remodeling the family home to update it for aging in place, whether doing small jobs or a major overhaul, is something that about 30% of those completing remodeling improvements are doing. This number continues to grow among boomers and their senior loved ones.
Since 2008 it is estimated that the number of Certified Aging in Place Specialists (CAPS), those home builders who have specialized training in universal design for aging, has more than doubled. These trained individuals can help caregivers determine what is needed in the home to allow seniors to remain there for years to come.
Aging in Place Readiness Questions for the Home
- Does the home need a new front entry to reduce or eliminate stairs or widen the front door? Is a ramp necessary?
- Does the family home need wider hallways to allow free roaming of a wheelchair including wider interior doors. different flooring material and better lighting?
- Will the master bathroom need a new shower that is accessible for seniors who need a fall free zone with grab bars, lever handles, no threshold shower, heightened toilet, or a built in shower bench just to name a few upgrades?
- Can your home be modified or remodeled to include a senior friendly, accessible apartment so you can live with your senior loved one but maintain a private family life?
- Are the cupboards, sinks, and counter tops easy to use and at the right height to maintain freedom for a fragile senior or one with mobility impairments?
- Are all the floors in the home safe for walking with no slipping? Using honed products instead of slippery surfaces can help as well as lower maintenance products that will remain safe without too much effort in upkeep. Can the floors meet your senior’s needs without throw rugs? Are the bathroom floors slippery when wet?
There are many small projects that can make life easier to age in place such as easier to use drawer pulls, light switches that can be turned on with arthritic hands, improved lighting throughout, and other do-it-yourself touches.
Don’t forget the large number of innovative technology resources that can help your senior loved one live safely at home that can be hardwired during a renovation such as personal emergency response systems, fall detectors, movement detectors and other safety devices. Having these devices installed during a renovation will be easier in many instances than adding later.
We encourage you to reach out to experts such as a CAPS home builder/remodeler, building inspector and even an occupational therapist who can perform a walk through evaluation detailing areas of concern that can be improved.
You can help answer your senior’s prayers and help their dreams come true with careful planning and an investment to improve the safety aspects of the family home.
We look forward to hearing how you have accomplished keeping your senior safe in the home of their dreams.