Aging in place. Have you heard of it? It’s largely a baby-boomer trend that has people retrofitting or adding to their homes to accommodate (or prepare for) their physical requirements as they get older. These changes give them the ability to stay in their own home, and remain in their familiar community, safely.
Also interesting is this: investing in ‘aging in place’ features can also increase the value of your home, providing an even better value proposition if you decide it’s time to sell.
Many people want to stay in their home, or their community, as long as possible. And with these adjustments, they increase the chances of doing just that:
- Stepless showers - Many people are now swapping out their big garden tubs for large, stepless showers that are easy to enter and exit. Adding a seat or bench in the shower offers another area for storage and stability, further preventing a fall. Reinforced shower walls with handles (grab bars) will help seniors maintain balance too
- Tall bath vanities - These put everything within arms-reach, making the simple tasks of brushing teeth or washing hands even easier. Taller vanities also prevent the need to bend over too much, which will fend off back pain and falls.
- High profile commodes - Considered, “comfort height”, these taller toilets sit about 17”-19” high, which is about two or three inches higher than normal. These commodes make getting up and down much less of a chore for anyone!
- Cabinet accessibility - Reaching into upper cabinets isn’t safe, so put more stock in base cabinets. Utilize pullout trays, drawers and lazy susans for increased accessibility.
- Single-lever faucet - Aside from being a cinch to use, this type of faucet also prevents hot water burns since it is already tempered with cold water.
- Large kitchen islands - Not only do they provide a more accommodating workspace, they offer a place for bar stools, which can help stability or provide a place to rest while preparing a meal.
- Door handles - Opt for handles rather than knobs for each door in the house. It makes them much more comfortable to open, especially for those that battling with arthritic hands.
- Flooring - You’ll want all rooms to be free of thresholds to prevent stumbles and falls. Create flush floor transitions between rooms, avoid glossy floor finishes, remove area rugs. If you must have carpet, go for a low-pile variety.
- Lighting - For aging eyes, the more lighting the better. Opt for rocker switches which can easily be pushed on and off. Other good ideas are motion-sensor lights, under cabinet lighting and installing long-lasting LEDs in ceiling fixtures, which will prevent falls from changing light bulbs.
Sometimes, buying or building a home in the same community is your best option. If building, opt for wider hallways and doorways, and try to make the entire house as “stepless” as possible. If you do have more than one story, ensure the master bedroom is on the main floor.
With a fast-growing senior population, it’s important that communities understand the requirements and strengths of older adults. Harbor Club on Lake Oconee is one of those communities. We cater to both the young and the “young at heart” -- and provide a neighborhood that successfully combines the two.
Want to see for yourself? We are introducing new homes in the Club Cottages and Carriage Ridge neighborhoods that would be the perfect for aging in place. Contact Kathy Phillips for more details.