Dorothy was right when she said, “There’s no place like home.” When asked where they wish to receive extended care, “home” is the top preference of 85% of retirees. According to a USA Today article, a national survey revealed that retirees would prefer to live in their own home rather than an assisted-living facility, a family member’s home, or a nursing home.
The results of the survey also revealed that retirees who plan on living in their own home do so because they like their independence, their community, being close to their family and friends, and because they love their home. Although retirees in their 70s and 80s often have more health challenges, many maintain the desire to age in place, and are willing to remodel in order to stay in their current home. Another population who may have different functionality needs is the large number of wounded warriors returning from military duty.
3 things to consider before remodeling
1. Single floor design versus multiple floors
A single floor home might be a better fit for a person due to the lack of stairs, however, long hallways may be daunting to a person with mobility issues. Depending on the situation, an elevator or stair glide may be a good option. Although the stair glide can be a good idea for people with heart conditions or bad knees, it is not ideal for people with bad hips or people who have difficulty balancing when seated. On the other hand, an elevator may be the perfect choice for some, but it is important to be mindful of the cost, space, and structural design issues.
2. Doorways and doors
Expanding the width of doorways allows people who use a walker or a wheelchair easier movement and access. Before expanding a doorway, however, it is necessary to look into the structural load from floors and the roof to determine if the wall that is being modified is load bearing. The need to reroute wires or other systems within the wall is also a possibility. Installing pocket doors may make it easier to navigate for some, yet the flat handle can make it more difficult for people with manual dexterity issues.
3. Walk-in tubs versus curbless shower
A walk-in tub may be easier and safer to use than a regular tub, however, there are some negative issues to consider. There is a narrow opening that a person has to maneuver through, and then move out of the way in order to shut the door behind them. Also, a person must be in the tub with the door closed before they can fill up the tub. In turn, they must let all of the water drain before they can get out of the tub.
A curbless shower is an alternative option that allows a person to wheel a chair into the shower area. With a built-in shower seat that is movable, a handheld shower handle, and multiple grab bars, a bathing experience can be both pleasant and safe.
While many retirees aren’t looking any further than their own back yard when thinking about their golden years, make sure all remodeling options are considered. Call Maeser for more information about aging in place and bathroom safety fixtures. We are certified aging-in-place specialists and can walk you through the remodeling process.