Ideas For Aging-in-Place Renovations
There are many options and upgrades that become useful and necessary as more and more homeowners choose to age-in-place in their existing homes for as long as possible. Some of these options are simple and easy, others require some modest level of disruption and coordination, and yet others call for a significant renovation depending on the existing conditions.
Here are some things to consider:
To make things more easily usable on an everyday basis around your house, consider making some minor changes (they may not seem minor depending on your situation), and you might even be able to do some of them yourself. These upgrades can be done with in-stock materials, from your local hardware store, to help with grasping and using devices more easily that we use every day. Replacing round doorknobs that can be difficult to manipulate with lever handles make it quite easy to open and close doors. Replacing cabinets knobs with larger c-shaped pulls, that can be reached and gripped much more easily, makes cabinetry, drawers and furniture more accessible. Replacing your light switches with ones that sense motion and come on automatically might prevent a night-time accident searching for a switch, especially for visitors who may not be familiar with the layout of your home. Rocker switches and fixtures with a night light setting make it easier and safer to function normally as well. All of these suggestions are inexpensive and can make simple challenges easier and safer.
These minor renovations can affect the quality of your day to day living in a more significant way and be done individually to address a specific problem or as part of a minor or major renovation, if you’re planning one already. Sometimes we just get used to things, and if you have been living in a home that hasn’t had electrical upgrades lately, the quality and quantity of the lighting may be inadequate for today’s standards. Adding lights, outlets and relocating devices to match where they are most accessible for you can ease the strain on your eyes, prevent reaching or straining to get at something, and also prevent tripping or other accidents. The standard heights of thermostats, switches and outlets may no longer be appropriate for the way you move around and operate these systems as you grow older. Widening doorways, eliminating raised thresholds and transitions between spaces and creating accessible storage spaces all make moving from space to space within your home, on your own or with assistance, much safer and easier.
You might be surprised by how easy and inexpensive these short term solutions may make your home safer and more accessible. If you are planning on staying there as long as possible, or you are simply trying to make a few common sense upgrades, safety and ease of use upgrades always bring short term and long term value to your home.