The AARP estimates that more than 89 percent of people age 50 and older want to age in place – stay in their current homes as they age. However, many of them are living in homes that are more than 30 years old and not ideal for older residents. The homes have stairs, stepped doorways, high kitchen cabinets and difficult-to-reach fixtures. You may be healthy and mobile now and remain so as you age, but there is also the chance that you or someone in your household will experience a life-changing event or a chronic or progressive condition that may require home modifications. The time to think about remodeling is not when that event happens. The time is now.
Communities across the country are beginning to recognize the needs of older Americans who want to stay in their homes and their communities. According to an Associated Press article published on USA Today.com, one example is Verona, NJ, where the town has implemented an Aging in Place program called Verona LIVE. It educates older residents about available services for them, including transportation systems that will take them shopping or to medical appointments, home maintenance programs and safety checks. Pima County, AZ, has passed an ordinance requiring that all new homes in the area offer at least one entrance with no steps and minimum heights and widths of doorways and light switches.
Remodeling to age in place requires you to look into the future and anticipate your needs. It’s likely that living all on one level, kitchen remodeling for easy accessibility in cabinets and appliances, and bathroom remodeling with easy-to-reach fixtures and non-slip flooring will benefit everyone – whether you remain mobile and healthy or not. We can’t anticipate the future, but we can be smart about remodeling now. Ask your custom remodeler to share his knowledge about physical needs as we age and making your home age-in-place friendly.