Helping Your Parents Age in Place: A Guide to Home Improvements
The rising cost of long-term care for the Baby Boomer generation means more people are living at home longer.
Aging in place is becoming a popular concept among seniors across the globe. The rising cost of long-term care for the Baby Boomer generation means more people are living at home longer. Technology and services like meal delivery are making it easier than ever for seniors to remain independent far longer. There are a few home modifications you can make with aging in place in mind. Most are simple adjustments, though some are large scale projects to undertake. Before you decide to make changes to your mom or dad's house, you should take some time to observe how they get around.
Your parents may not be so forthcoming about talking about their struggles. If you've noticed your dad is avoiding going upstairs unless he absolutely has to go, the stairs are likely a point of pain for him. Capsule-shaped home lifts can be retrofitted into a home just about anywhere to help in this case. There are many home improvements you can make to your parents’ home to help them age in place. Some can even add value to the home after the improvements have been completed.
A trained advisor can help you identify weak points in your parents’ home that should be addressed. A Comprehensive home Safety Assessment can be performed in every room in the house, including fire safety and electrical safety. This assessment will help you decide which projects to tackle first.
When it comes time to make home modifications, don't just hire the first contractor you interview for the job. Some contractors specialize in helping make modifications for aging in place. These Certified Aging in Place Specialists take a three-day course from the National Association of Homebuilders.
Widen Doors & Hallways
Many doors in older homes are too narrow for wheelchair and walker access. CAPS contractors will focus on making doors and hallways wider for better access for mobility assistance devices. This job may not take as long as you think, either. Two carpenters with experience and the proper tools could do the job in eight hours.
Elevators Add Convenience & Safety
A home elevator can add significant value to a home after it is installed. Home buyers today gravitate toward multi-story homes with elevator access. Elevators are ideal to have in low mobility situations for both convenience and safety.
Move Essential Rooms Downstairs
If you live in a two-story home, but you'd rather not leave the home you love, you might consider moving all of the essential rooms downstairs. An elevator can help keep access to upstairs, but daily trips up and down become cumbersome. Making the home as easy as possible to navigate will help your parents get around better.
Look at Flooring
Most contractors familiar with home improvements based on aging in place will tell you to focus on flooring. The ideal material for most senior citizens is soft and easy to clean. Rubber floors are soft and slip-resistant, making them a good choice. If you do have hardwood or laminate flooring then it may be a good idea to ensure there are proper runners and rugs spread throughout in order to avoid slippage.