How to Prepare for Aging in Place
As we age, our home needs to change as we change. The risk of falling becomes more prevalent and more dangerous. So, our homes need to adapt to our new needs. As you pick out a new home you may want to consider a home that you will be able to live in well into your retirement age. Or you can remodel your home to be better suited for your aging needs as they arise. This also applies to changes you may need due to disability or injury. Just because your home has to be functional for your needs, doesn’t mean it can’t be stylish. Continue reading for stylish changes you can make for aging in place and accessibility for your home.
The most important concept for aging in place and disability design is accessibility and reduced fall risk. This can be achieved by changing the materials used throughout the home, opening space, and lowering items. Majority of your home can also be remodeled to make it safer and more accessible for aging in place or any disability. You can add ramps to replace stairs to make your home more accessible for wheelchairs. Also, lever handles make doors easier to open for many different disabilities. You can have handrails installed on the walls and secure banisters along the stairs for additional support and stability. Nonslip or less slip flooring materials such as wood or vinyl throughout the house reduce the risk of falling.
The kitchen is one of the most heavily used common spaces within any home and it is an essential part of our daily home lives. So, it is important that it is functional for our needs as we age and in the case of disabilities. The easiest way to ensure accessibility to the kitchen is to ensure there are wide walkways that give more space for walking and moving around in a wheelchair if needed. With a roll under sink and a roll under stovetop, wheelchairs can be used in the kitchen while washing dishes and cooking with easy maneuvering. Also, having a smooth stovetop will allow you to easily clean up after a messy meal and slide heavy pots and pans onto the stove. Pull out countertops make cooking prep easier because they are wheelchair accessible and removes the need for reaching up to the counter. Pull down shelves and open shelving are also a great way to reduce the need for reaching in the kitchen. As we get older, bending down becomes more of a task. So, a wall oven is a great option for aging in place because you won’t have to bend down to put food in the oven. Having front mounted controls on the oven would mean you wouldn’t have to reach over the oven and stove to preheat the oven or set a timer. You can also lower the microwave to further reduce the need to reach for things in your kitchen.
Remodeling the bathroom is possibly the most important space to remodel for aging in place because it requires the most independence. It is ideal to prevent slipping and falling in the bathroom because you will be coming in and out of the shower where there can be any number of accidents. A curb-less shower is a great way to make your shower wheelchair accessible. It is also a great way to reduce the risk of falling from trying to step over a curb or a connecting bathtub. Shower benches are a good addition to your shower for sitting for those that can’t stand during their shower or are at risk of falling. Also, shower handrails can help you stay upright if you are at risk of falling in the shower. It would be wise to have non-slip flooring in the bathroom such as porcelain with a matte finish. You can also have a roll-under sink so wheelchair users can access the sink on their own without having to bump the wheelchair into the low cabinets or reach over to get to the sink.
If you want to remodel your home for aging in place or to make your home more disability accessible, contact J.B. Stones. For inspiration for your remodel, visit our Pinterest board for Aging in Place and Disability Accessibility.
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