Universal Design

Universal Design, Aging-In-Place

Whether you call it “getting ready for retirement,” aging-in-place, universal design, or barrier-free conversions, it means transforming your living space for everyone, no matter what limitations may exist.

When Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) are enjoying their holidays golfing, hunting, fishing or traveling, it’s hard to think about the “retirement years.” They are way too busy enjoying life to contemplate the next phase of life.

But by 2020, the population of retirement-age Americans is expected to grow by 75%. In a recent AARP survey of respondents 45 and older, 83% said they would prefer to live out their lives in their current homes rather than move into a retirement community, assisted living facility or nursing home.

A Guide to Aging in Place, from the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association, says it best: Our home is our security… The control we wield in our home is the source of our independence, dignity and quality of life. But remaining in our homes is not without certain challenges. Homes that were convenient when we were younger can cause problems in later years. As our lifestyle and needs change, so should our home environments. In order to “age in place” many homes will need minor and/or major remodeling, depending on the specific needs of the occupants and conditions of their home.

Minor changes are easy to implement with little cost. Consider:

Increase wattage in light bulbs
Use double sided tape to secure rugs
Install emergency response systems
Use non-slip strips on steps

Small remodeling projects include:

Install higher toilets
Add grab bars in bath
Replace faucets and doors with levers

Larger remodeling projects include:

Modify home to allow first floor living
Widen doorways in anticipation of wheelchair access or walkers
Install ramp, stair lift or elevator
Make outside entrance more accessible with ramp
Enlarge bathroom size to accommodate wheelchair access
Install roll-in, curb free showers
Move laundry to bedroom floor
Raising counter tops to reduce bending
Installing drawer-type dishwashers to reduce bending

These projects need not be done at one time, but over the years, when other changes are being made, incorporate them into other improvements.

Call today to see what changes can help you be more comfortable in your home.