This holiday season, one of the greatest gifts you can give is independence — for you and for your aging loved ones. How? Give the gift of a remodel for parents, in-laws or other relatives so that they can age in place. If they are able to live on their own, take steps now to maintain that ability. Help them make modifications to their current home so that the aging process and the physical limitations that accompany it are manageable. Being prepared will also help you keep everyone’s independence – theirs and yours.
Talk to a custom builder about the options and make a plan that can be executed in the coming months of the New Year. This includes remodeling homes so that the main living space is all on the first floor. Make entrances to the home easily accessible, without steps or rocky walkways. Reconfigure the floor plan of the first floor so that the master suite, including full bath, is on the main floor. Guest bedrooms and baths can be on the upper levels. Make sure doorways are wide enough for assistive walking devices or wheel chairs – even if the residents aren’t currently using these devices. It’s helpful to look ahead and be prepared so that the remodeling process only has to happen once.
Choose non-slip floors and smooth surfaces for easy maneuvering. Hard wood is the best bet in hallways, kitchens and family rooms. While tile may be tempting, the grout between it can be a sticking point for canes, walkers and even shoes. In addition, any long-term standing on a hard surface can be very painful. Avoid longer pile carpet, as well, because it is difficult to navigate and can be uneven underfoot. In addition, once the renovation is complete, don’t put down throw rugs — they are a tripping hazard.
Remodel bathrooms to include a curbless shower with a seat, grab bars, and non-skid floors. These can all be beautifully and stylishly integrated with the many choices available in today’s decorative lines. Counters and toilets should be at appropriate heights for the user. While there are standardized heights, you can ask your custom builder to adjust to your personal needs.
Share these plans with your loved ones as your gift this holiday.