For many seniors who are looking to age in place, one of the most effective ways to do this is through appropriate home renovations to make living there easier and safer.
To learn more about this, I recently had the opportunity to interview a certified aging-in-place contractor, Anthony McCabe of Genesis Creations Contracting.
As both a licensed associate broker to sell real estate and a certified aging in place specialist with the National Association of Home Builders, Anthony brings a wealth of personal experience to the aging-in-place community and his knowledge can be invaluable to seniors and their caregivers looking to make these important lifestyle decisions.
To that end, I recently visited Anthony’s facility to learn more about the Top 3 home renovations that are done to an existing home to make Aging-In-Place safer.
Video Overview of Top 3 Aging In Place Home Renovations
Top 3 Aging-In-Place Home Renovations
The bathroom is the logical place to start, especially because this is the one room of the house where most slips and falls occur.
At Anthony’s showroom he has a mock up of a bathroom which features not only some of the most important safety renovations, but also those renovations in different styles and decor to show the homeowner that they do not have to sacrifice style and luxury for safety.
As you can see from the image above, there are plenty of changes that were made to make the bathroom safer.
This is the most obvious modification and it allows much easier access to the shower. There are no worries about using a shower bench to slide over the tub because you still have to worry about getting your legs over the tub. This can be difficult, as I have previously written about when I discussed shower benches.
The great advantage to this set up is that you just walk in and place the shower bench right in the shower.
And in addition, though the picture doesn’t show it there is a slight angle to the floor so that all the water will still find its way to the drain and will not spill everywhere.
Note: The question that I personally had when I saw the bathroom like this was if the lack of a tub in one (or more) bathrooms in the house would hurt the re-sale value of the home.
This was an instance where Anthony’s real estate experience came to the forefront, because he said that you could eventually sell the home as a senior accessible home…in other words, a home that would not need renovation to accommodate a senior citizen.
And with 10,000 Baby Boomers becoming seniors every day, these types of homes will definitely have a market for the next 20-30 years, at least.
From the picture, you can see three separate wall-mounted grab bars in the bathroom, placed where they would be needed most. You could count a 4th grab bar that is between the sink and the toilet.
Wall Hanging Sink
This is a special adaptation for those who need wheelchair-access to the sink. The sink is mounted to the wall and there are no cabinets underneath it to allow for a wheelchair to get under the sink and for the wheelchair occupant to get close enough to the sink to use it properly.
Instead of having mirror mounted flush against the wall, the mirror is mounted on a bracket that pivots so that it can be angled down so the individual n the wheelchair can still use the mirror.
Grab bars aren’t just meant for the bathroom, they can be installed everywhere. Hallways, corridors and staircases are also prominent places where they can be installed.
And as aging-in-place comes more to the forefront of our society, the styles and choices of grab bars is increasing, so you no longer have to have the silver bars that are so common in hospitals and nursing homes.
Here at Anthony’s showroom you can see a small sample of the colors and styles available. In addition, they can come with or without knurling (those little grooves on the grab bars that make it easier to seniors to grip and hold on to).
Home access involves three things…
- Ramps to allow for wheelchair access
- Wider doorways to allow a wheelchair to get through doors and hallways
- Step reductions (typically from an 8″ height to 4-5″) so that it is easier for seniors to climb stairs to get in and out of the home safely.