You’re aging, your house is getting old; is your house ready for your senior years? With 8-10000 Baby-Boomers turning 65 everyday, many of them have yet to think about their future accommodations. So what’s to think about; install some grab handles in the shower, attach some rug grippers on the bottom side of the rugs to keep them in place; what else is there you need to know? This is the thought of many Baby-Boomers as they start to settle into retirement. Their health is better than that of previous generations, they are active and many are continuing to work long after their retirement age; so why should they start thinking about getting their house ready for something that may not even happen? Truth is, it will happen for many, sometime in the very near future, so start planning your home for the future.
The best home for seniors is a single story home, without floor level changes. Believe it or not, there are very few homes built on a flat plain. Most homes have at least a four inch rise at their front door. To accommodate a four inch rise, a rubber ramp can be installed affordably. Once you get into steps, it’s either ramps or lifts which can become very pricey. While were talking about your front door; does it have at least thirty-six inches of opening to allow a scooter or wheelchair to pass comfortably? What kind of doorknob is installed and which are better suited for seniors as well as handicap citizens? As you walk into your home; are there sharp turns which will accommodate a wheelchair or motorized scooter? If you have outside corners exposed; what will you use to protect the senior or the corner? If I were to roll into your kitchen in a wheelchair; could I use the sink or stove comfortably while sitting on a walker? Does your cabinet’s drawers and doors have automatic closers to keep a forgetful mind from tripping over or turning into? Does your faucets have a scald guard feature? Something to consider installing would be decorative hand rails in long hallways to give that needed support for the aging adult. Many bedrooms are on extended hallways; could a wheelchair, scooter or person with a walker turn comfortably through the bedroom door? An easy fix is to install a thirty-six inch door, pocket door or double doors. In many homes built forty plus years ago, bathrooms were not as large as they are today; what would you have to do to accommodate your senior years? You may need a roll-in shower, which can be done with a conversion kit, without busting up the floor to change plumbing but re-enforcing walls for securing grab bars and shower chairs. Most people don’t think about their toilet height but the typical toilet is only fourteen inches high, to accommodate handicap and seniors, a seventeen inch high toilet base is preferred. But what can be done if there isn’t enough room inside the bathroom? I have removed walls, as well as plumbing, exposing the entire bathroom area to the bedroom.
The cost of assisted living is on the rise and quite frankly, most seniors do not want to be part of that scene or didn’t plan for that expense. Statistics have proven, seniors are more comfortable and do better in their home environment. Every home is not conducive for such modifications for accessibility. Before you start planning your home to accommodate you for your senior years, speak with a professional who understands ADA guidelines as well as has the experience with accessibility modifications. Marketability of homes, already modified, will start becoming in demand, as 20% of our population will be sixty-five and older by 2030.
Start planning now for your home’s future. Will your home be able to accommodate you or will you have to make the hard decision to sell your home, before that decision will have to be made for you? Is your house ready for you to become senior or will you start house hunting this weekend?