People in today’s society are living longer.  They are in better health and can remain independent longer than even the people of our grandparent’s generation.  Even in better health, growing older means that special arrangements need to be made around the house to assure safety and to meet the needs of our changing abilities.  If you have decided that you are going to downsize and move into a smaller home look for a home built under universal design guidelines.   However, if you are hoping to remain in your current home there are many age in place renovations that can be done to maintain independence while increasing safety.

Homes that are built with the universal design philosophy are produced in and environment with products that are created especially for older people or people with disabilities.  Barrier free layout concepts are applied throughout the home while maintaining the aesthetics of the home.  Examples of universal design applied to the home include:

  • Entrance and exits on the ground level are smooth and easy to access.
  • Flooring surfaces are created with texture to remain slip resistant.
  • Throughout the home handles are levered instead of knobs.
  • Bright lighting is present in abundance in every room of the home.

Many people choose to stay within their own homes instead of moving to a home that explores the universal design concept.  When this is the case there are several age in place modification that can be put into place that will make the environment safer while keeping the aesthetic beauty of the original home. Here are some simple age in place modifications that can be done to create a safe and secure environment for aging adults.

  • Reduce the temperature on the water heater to avoid scalding.
  • Knobs on doors, faucets and cabinets should be replaced by levers.
  • In the entrance and exits of the home additional lighting, with motion sensors should be installed.
  • All flooring should be inspected.  Remove all scatter rugs and add texture strips to any flooring that is slick such as bathroom and kitchen tiles.
  • If the home has steps make sure that handrails are secure.  If the stairs are used on a regular basis consider adding an additional handrail to the opposite side of the stairway as well.
  • Special care is needed throughout the bathroom area.  Install easy to use levers handles on the sink, shower and bathtub.  Add grab bars and install non-stick strips to the slick tub surface and bathroom flooring.  Lighting with a motion sensor is a nice addition to the bathroom of aging adults as well.
  • Add additional lighting to the kitchen.  Cabinetry should be installed with sliding shelves to allow for easier access. Tools that are used frequently should be moved to locations that are easy to reach and that don’t require bending or reaching.
  • Furniture should be arranged throughout the house to allow for minimal obstructions.
  • Telephones should be installed in easy to reach locations throughout the house.  This can easily be done by installing a central phone base with additional charging ports in every room in the home.

Changes to your home should be done over the course of time.  As you are remodeling your home consider using age in place remodeling products and techniques.  This allows for a gradual transition transforming your home into a safe place to age.

The Home Doctor, based in Livingston County including Brighton and Howell Michigan, offers a variety of home renovations to clients ranging from bathroom remodeling to age in place home modifications.  Contact today all of your home renovating needs.