It’s true that Baby Boomers are renovating because they want to stay in their current homes. They are making major changes to existing floor plans to make life easier as they age. The website environmentsforaging.com contends that seniors are not just improving their spaces, they are creating a completely different user experience. While Environments for Aging looked to resident amenities of planned senior communities for examples of these experiences, many of their findings can translate into renovating for a reason, or aging in place. They asked, “What will have the greatest impact on users’ perception of a space? Is it lighting, color, furnishings or function?”
The answers included spaces that promote socialization, engagement and a sense of community. One of the remodeling reasons was “Keeping up with the Joneses.” While this may not be the ideal reason to remodel, we do see it as the root of many remodeling projects within the same neighborhoods. If Mary and John added a first floor master suite, their neighbors, Bob and Joan, who live a block over added a new master suite plus a sun room. The key message here: Mary and John were prepared to age in place and took into consideration their potential future needs. They influenced Bob and Joan by their actions, and now two couples are reaping the benefits of aging in place and remodeling for a reason.
Proper lighting throughout the house was also identified by Environments for Aging. It also should be a part of the plan for any renovation — not an afterthought. Always include more lighting than you think you’ll need, because as we age, our eyes need more light to see and accomplish tasks. Lighting can make or break a space with ambiance and atmosphere or bothersome shadows and darkness.
“Continuity of Life” was the last notable emphasis for Environments for Aging. This concept provides an expression of style and ease-of-living, and makes sure you can move from one phase of life to another in your home, and stay in your home.