While the Baby Boomers are remodeling their homes, good custom remodelers are encouraging them to think about changes that will agree with them as they age and allow them to stay in their homes. For example, houses with split entry ways that were popular in the 1970s and 1980s are no longer practical or safe for aging residents. A remodel for the entry way should be in order. It can include a wider space, wider doorways and steps replaced by ramps or a totally new foyer elevated to the main level. Outside, consider a canopy or awning for protection from the weather, a built-in surface for placing packages while opening the door, and a sensor light aimed at the entry door. The walkway should be flat and at least three-feet wide. A smooth transition from outside to inside, with no step or even change in grade, is safest for people confined to wheelchairs or using walking assistance. Flooring materials like hard wood or non-slip tile are good ideas for safety in an area that can accumulate water and mud from the outdoors.
Keeping the living space on the ground floor is also a great aging in place idea. Repurpose that dining room or formal living room that never gets used into a first-floor master suite, complete with master bathroom. Any stairs to the second floor should include sturdy handrails on both sides, no carpet, and stair treads that are wide enough for the entire foot. Height of steps should be seven inches. Finally, look even further into the future and make the stairwells wide enough to accommodate a chair lift if it’s ever necessary. These are some of the key areas that can be modified with your next home remodel so getting around can be easy and safe.