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5 Changes You Can Make To Your Home To Help You Age Gracefully

Door Lever

If you’re like the vast majority of Americans aged 50 or older, you would prefer to retire and continue living in your current home for as long as possible. And why wouldn’t you? It’s your home, the place where you are most comfortable and where your possessions, memories, and loved ones can be found.

But as we all age through our sixth, seventh, and eighth decades our physical abilities naturally change, often leading to problems navigating the home and performing routine day-to-day tasks.

Fortunately, these difficulties can often be alleviated with a few simple home upgrades collectively classified as aging-in-place or universal design remodeling.

1. Curbless Showers / Walk-In Tubs

Bathrooms are important. That’s why they’re the #2 most commonly remodeled room in the house (behind kitchens) and why they’re also one of the most closely scrutinized spaces when it comes to home sales.

But even if your home’s bathrooms are in good condition with an overall design that isn’t likely to go out of style (at least not anytime soon!), changes in your physical capabilities can make using your facilities an unexpected challenge.

Take tubs and showers, for instance.

A normal tub/shower combo requires you, the homeowner, to step high over the lip of the tub and down onto a surface that can be extremely slippery. These spaces can also be quite small, and while you’re using them you have to either remain standing, or else lower yourself down into an awkward lying or reclining position.

These motions can be tiring and dangerous for many individuals with balance or dexterity issues, often leading to falls and serious injury.

Modern, highly-attractive curbless showers, which don’t have lips or other barriers to step over, are one option to help older individuals or those with other disabilities better keep up with their personal hygiene. Walk-in tubs, which have a door that opens and closes and often a seat to rest on, are another.

And while you’re busy remodeling your bathroom, other features including non-slip flooring, handrails, and anti-scald valves should also be considered.

2. Accessible Door Handles

Traditional round doorknobs require a firm handgrip, wrist rotation, and a simultaneous pushing or pulling motion to operate. This is simple enough for most school-aged children and adults, but regular doorknobs can present a constant challenge to adults with arthritis, balance issues requiring the use of a cane, wheelchairs, and other conditions.

Lever door handles, on the other hand, don’t require as much strength or dexterity to operate, which is why they are used in spaces that must comply with the accessibility requirements laid down by the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).

And there are countless different varieties and styles out there to choose from, whether you are looking to match your home’s current interior design or update it.

3. Wider Doorways

Most homes have standard doorway dimensions that can often be challenging to navigate for those in wheelchairs or those who use walkers.

As a result, many aging homeowners will opt to expand some of these bottlenecks, making easier to move from room to room independently without bumping into drywall or doorframes.

This update often goes hand-in-hand with the addition of ramps, outdoor lighting, and other accessible entryway features.

 4. Kitchen Reorganization

The last thing a homeowner needs is to strain themselves whenever it’s time to microwave some food or set the dinner table.

Reworking your kitchen layout to lower the countertop or bring appliances and storage out into the open can often go a long way towards restoring personal confidence and ease while preparing meals. And, if done correctly, it can also be a great change to streamline and update your kitchen design overall as you invest and reinvest in your home’s value and attractiveness.

Common features added to kitchens as part of universal design remodels include:

  • Organized racks for heavy pots, pans, and cooking sheets
  • Wall-mounted hooks
  • Easy slide-out shelving or Lazy Susans
  • Easy-grip hardware
  • Accessible light switches
  • Lower-height prep spaces

 5. Improved Stairs

Falling injuries are extremely common among older individuals, so it is important to take steps to mitigate this risk. Especially when it comes to stairs.

To help make stairways easier to deal with, many homeowners will opt to remove smaller stairs in favor of nonslip ramps.

For larger stairways, structural fixes may be needed to improve the safety of the stairwell, along with anti-slip strips or other high-traction materials, bright lighting, and heavy-duty railings.

These fixes, along with overall home restructuring to allow for single-floor living, can help keep you safe in the decades to come while also, potentially, allowing you to avoid the need for a chair lift or other expensive structural changes.

 Amber Valley Construction

For high quality interior or exterior home remodeling, decks, roofing, barrier-free design, and fire or water restoration services in and around Grand Rapids Michigan, please contact Amber Valley today.

Our team is committed to providing excellent customer service, fair prices, and the only the highest quality results.

Thank you!

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