As people get older, their health begins to decline. Poor balance, weak muscles, and joint issues are just a few of the problems that creep up on people as they transition into being a senior. However, there's no need to move into a smaller house or assisted living just yet—if Spring Hill homeowners take proactive measures, they can renovate their home to allow them to age in place. Here are a few tips to get started.
Exterior renovations to the home won't be as major as many interior renovations, but planning ahead with exterior design can make it that much easier for your home to age with you. When designing an age-in-place home exterior, remove anything that could be difficult to navigate for someone with mobility issues, as well as anything that isn't easily maintained. Phase out complex landscaping for simpler styles, and choose siding and walkway options that are easy to maintain.
Homeowners should also remove any steps required to get into the front door. Instead, introduce a ramp to get up to the step, and widen any narrow pathways so a wheelchair user can comfortably navigate to the door.
The interior of the home is where most of the safety oriented renovations will take place. Many of them will be large structural changes that may be expensive to complete, but some are more affordable and can even be done as a DIY job. For example, for seniors with declining grip strength and motor dexterity, circular doorknobs can be tough to grasp and turn. By replacing them with lever handles, senior residents will be able to move from room to room with greater ease.
A more intensive renovation is the width of the doorframes and hallways. Wheelchairs are wider than a human body, and if the walkways are narrow, wheelchair users will have difficulty getting through. If it's likely that any household member may end up in a wheelchair, widening the halls is an important step in the process.
Any steps and stairs throughout the house will need to be leveled into ramps, and if the home has multiple stories, a plan should be devised for how older household members will navigate it. Handrails can improve the safety of stairs, but eventually a lift should be installed. Ideally, people buying a home with age in mind should prioritize single-story homes without stairs.
The bathroom is one of the most common places for falls to occur. Between the need to get up and down and the presence of water and slick tiles, the bathroom requires extra care to be made a senior-friendly space. First, tiles should be covered in a slip-proof wax to reduce falls, and showers and tubs should have protective anti-slip mats to reduce the possibility of falling.
If there's a lip or step in the shower, that should be removed to eliminate the need to step over it to get in. A bench should also be installed in the shower to make showering itself less risky.
Last, homeowners should replace any low-seated toilets with taller models and install handrails for assistance in getting up and down. If the space is narrow or cramped, it should be redesigned so a wheelchair user can navigate with ease.
Hire a Contractor to Renovate Your Age-in-Place Dream Home Today
There are a lot of factors to consider when retrofitting a home to live in as you age including the possibility of needing professional live-in care. Reach out to a licensed contractor with experience in age-in-place renovations to learn more about what steps are necessary, and create your forever home today.
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