Remodeling tips to keep your loved ones at home
With seniors living longer and more active lives, and with more than 77 million baby boomers turning 65 at a rate of 10,000 per day, the United States is experiencing historic growth in the 65-plus demographic. The ultimate question is: Are we as individuals and communities ready for an aging population?
According to the National Council on Aging, nine in 10 seniors intend to continue living in their current homes over the next five to 10 years. Remodeling and thoughtful design can play a major role in keeping seniors safe and comfortable at home.
Kansas City NARI conducted a seminar about aging in place and universal design at the KC Lift & Elevator showroom. During the event, NARI members heard from Lauren Balestrieri, UDCP, L Marie Interior Design who educated members on best practices. Below are some tips and takeaways.
Get a Professional Assessment
If you’re considering a remodel to keep your aging loved ones in their homes, consider getting an assessment from a NARI professional. There are contractors available that are specifically trained to do aging in place home remodeling. NARI Universal Design Certified Professionals (UDCP) are recognized as experienced remodelers, skilled in all aspects of universal design and remodeling. This way you know that you are in good hands, because renovations required to accommodate seniors, or individuals with special needs, is no easy task and take a lot of time and effort. Find a UDCP NARI pro here.
Consider a Chair Lift
Stairs often become a barrier to keeping older individuals in their two-story homes. Remodeling to include a stair lift can be a great solution. Stair lifts are motorized chairs that travel along a rail mounted to the treads of stairs. The rider should be able to get on and off the chair independently, or with assistance in the form of a walker or cane only. NARI member KC Lift & Elevator has great resources about chair lifts including this helpful FAQ.
Make It Bright & Colorful
By age 75, most people require twice as much light as the normal recommended standard, and nearly four times as much as a 20-year-old, to see satisfactorily (Dementia Services Development Center – The Importance of Lighting). Color can influence mood, perception, shape and stimulate appetites. Color can play a larger role with the older population with safety. Color can help define features and areas, helping to avoid accidents. High contrast among the colors of home materials is a prime objective.
Utilize Smart Devices
Technology is a beautiful thing… especially for aging in place. Smart security systems, connected sensors, and a multitude of other smart home devices can address many common challenges of aging, helping seniors stay safer and healthier in their homes for longer. By equipping our homes with this type of smart tech today, it’s possible to create a space we can live in for (almost) all our tomorrows.
Make Flooring Friendly
Opt for floor consistency throughout the home. Aim for fewer and smoother transitions across flooring surfaces. The more consistent you can be with your flooring, the better off you’ll be (and your place will look larger and nicer, too). The reason that this is important is because you want to minimize the number of transitions (i.e. saddles or thresholds) as these can become tripping hazards. Many older adults drag their feet a bit and/or don’t lift them as much. When you do have transitions, try to minimize the height difference, and if possible, make them flush across rooms. Find NARI flooring pros to help you with your flooring needs.
If you are considering a remodeling project to that you or a loved one can age in place, be sure to contact Kansas City NARI and visit our website to start planning your project today with our resources!