The baby boomer generation is now reaching their retirement years, and with this new season of life, many are faced with making decisions about how they want to live out their years and their living arrangements. Part of the decision is based on the accessibility of their current homes. Due to the effects of aging, such as decreased mobility, increase, many are forced out of their homes and into new living arrangements that are often less desirable. However, there are other options, and Conestoga Tile would like to point out a few things homeowners can do while remodeling to increase their chances of being able to “Age in Place,” or age in the home that they love.
Bathrooms are usually the most dangerous room and largest obstacle to navigate if you have a medical condition that affects your mobility. Below are a few things that can be done now to avoid undesirable situations in the future.
- While the bathroom walls are torn apart in preparation of receiving new tile, have the contractor install wood blocking or a plywood substrate. This is used as a durable anchor for which a grab bar or seat can be installed at a later date.
- Install a curbless shower – Curbless showers obviously remove a tripping hazard, as well as allow for a wheelchair to enter the shower (See our previous post on curbless showers).
- Widen doorways that will allow for the passage of a wheelchair.
- Allow for 60” turning diameter.
- Lower countertops or counter overhangs, which can be helpful in later years.
- Lower light switches and windows.
- Make sure your home has adequate lighting.
- Consider having a higher toilet installed.
Chris Inman of Accessibility Resource Center, Inc. (ARC, Inc.), shared some of his expertise with us, stating:
“Thoughtfully done, home modifications that improve accessibility can improve the value of a home. Marketing a home with a well-designed and well-built accessible bathroom attracts a broader audience than a home limited by barriers. A beautiful level-entry, curbless shower, for example, appeals to buyers of all ages; moreover, a safe, accessible shower is especially appealing to the largest demographic group in our population, controlling the greatest wealth, and potentially having the greatest need—baby boomers…
Attractive, accessible home modifications are odds-on favorites. If you’re going to bet on where the home market is going, and use that hunch to determine your home improvement investments or home buying strategy, then accessibility is about as solid a driver as you’ll find.For the next 20 years, combining accessibility, comfort, and style is the winning formula for living well and for resale value.”
These are just a few of the ways homeowners can prepare their homes for future needs. There are many other topics to be considered. Below, we’ve listed a few places and articles where homeowners can look for further information regarding “Aging in Place.”
Have you begun to prepare your home so that you can age in place? If so, what have you done? Leave a comment below to share with us.