More than 90% of seniors would prefer to stay in their own home than move into assisted living. That’s probably going to be the case for you, as you grow older or for your aging parents, maybe even as you read this. While there are more than 125 million homes in the US and Canada, only 1% of those have been built or modified for “aging-in-place”. Your home (or a family member’s home) is likely to be part of the 99%. I’ll explain some of the renos that may be helpful for you as you delve into this area an recommend products that my grandparents have used themselves.
#1: Plan For The Future: All the features of an aging in place home won’t be necessary for some time. But it’s still better to plan ahead and make these choices now before you age. When you do start planning, you don’t need to dread these “old age” choices, primarily what you should be considering is a layout and design. Everything in your home should be easily accessible or easy to convert so that it serves a purpose later on in life. For example, if you’d like a two-story home you could turn the room on the second floor into a living area for a helper when you’re older.
#2: Choose Slip Resistant Flooring: When you age a fall is much more devastating than when you’re younger. When you’re younger it may just be an ouch and some minor pain, but it’s entirely different falling as a senior. Literally a simple slip can lead to broken bones and weeks spent in the hospital. You may even have to be transferred to an assisted living home while you recuperate. So, before this happens replace your current flooring with anti-slip flooring. Cork and bamboo are really popular as they’re soft and can coat a fall if one were to occur.
#3: Create A First Floor Master-Suite: It’s the case in most homes that the master suite be on the second floor, but this is changing. According to data from Builder Online 83% of the best selling home plans have more accessible master suites. But the reason you’re probably hesitant about making the move to a first floor suite is privacy and seclusion, something you’ll have with a second-floor suite. There are ways you can give a first floor suite just as much privacy and seclusion as you’d like, with added features like a gated entry into the garden (mimicking a balcony).
#4: Revamp Your Bathroom: While you may want to wait to add handles, toilet seat assistance and the like you should already think about what bathroom design may be more comfortable when you’re older. With aging in-place it’s all about choosing timeless (and ageless) designs that may only need slight adjustments when you’re older.
You don’t have to live your life around growing older, you can simply make it more comfortable for yourself when you do the inevitable – age. There are many design experts that can incorporate modern needs with a timeless layout, that work just as well while you’re young as they would when you’re older.
If you’re looking to purchase a home with great “aging in place” features speak to your local real estate agent.