November 6th, 2020
If you’ve been living here on the Palos Verdes Peninsula as long as I have (since 1968 as a 12 year old), you know that the profile of many of the Palos Verdes homes has changed a lot. The 30 and 40 year old engineers from the 60s and 70s working at Hughes Aircraft or Aerospace Corp are now in their 80s. If you’re reading this, you may be the “adult child” of one of these homeowners and wondering how best to take care of Mom and/or Dad. Part of that wondering is going to be how to remodel a home for Seniors.
I know because I’ve thought about this for my folks and even more so for my Mom now that my Dad passed away a few months ago. So what should you be considering in order to adapt their home for their changing lifestyle, how they access their home and improve their independence and self reliance? Did you know that 41% of people say they plan to stay in their home until they’re 81 years old or older? Since there’s an escalation in the effect of aging, it’s generally a good idea to implement changes over time; start early and plan ahead especially since it is less expensive to do smaller more gradual renovations.
How to remodel a home for Seniors
Where ever a floor can get wet or where there is a transition to a different level, grab bars should be installed. Make sure they are installed by a professional because added reinforcement is necessary. You don’t want to compound a fall with the grab bar pulling out from the wall and smacking you in the head. Showers, toilets, stairs and at room transitions are locations for grab bars
If you have a home where your front door is higher than the street level, sometimes a ramp is called for. Don’t shy away from contracting with a landscape designer and other professionals to help with the design of the ramp to help minimize any impact to curb appeal.
Making Doorways Wider
What of folks that must begin using a wheelchair or walker? Narrow doorways make maneuvering impossible or at best very difficult. This improvement is fairly easy to implement with a professional contractor and it has the added benefit of actually improving the appearance of your home
If it becomes necessary to use a wheel chair, having a room that can accommodate the added space of maneuvering a wheel chair is important. You need at least 5 square feet of space to move around in a wheelchair. Taking down a wall, removing any pony walls that may have divided your dining room from living room, relocating furniture are all good ways to create more open space.
For many folks in a 2 story home, it may come to pass that you will have to restrict your living to just one floor. It may then become necessary to remodel a 1/2 bath that was a “guest bathroom” when you were younger, to a full bath.
What’s a high frequency of injury in seniors? Falling! So removing thresholds between rooms can help mitigate tripping hazards
These are just a few ideas to consider. I’d be interested in hearing your ideas; please feel welcome to comment below. And for more information on Palos Verdes Seniors, consider using this website
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