Your home is perfect for you. You love the neighborhood, the yard, the space. It’s where your kids grew up and where your grandkids come to play. You canâ€™t imagine yourself living anywhere else. While many people think they have to leave their homes behind as they get older, aging in place is a growing trend in the home improvement world.
Many families make modifications and updates to their home, allowing them to age in place by following the basic principles of Universal Design. Some updates require more extensive planning and come with a hefty cost. But a surprisingly number of updates can be made in a manner that is both time- and cost-efficient. Following these tips will allow you to make updates to your house so you can age in place.
Change your Hardware
Swapping out door knobs for levers and opting for thicker handles instead of knobs as drawer pulls on cabinets can be a savior for hands plagued by arthritis or fine motor issues. The added benefit? These hardware charges are actually upgrades; not only do they have a timeless utility to them, but they are also very on-trend with the current design aesthetic. Additionally, they are one of the fastest and most economical home upgrades you can make.
Add Some Extra Light
If you live in a multi-story home or you have a staircase in your backyard, stair lights are an eye-catching safety feature. Outdoor options can be mounted either to the steps themselves or to the banister. Most lighting options are solar powered and install with few to no tools. As an added bonus, the soft glow with give off an enchanting glow as dusk settles in while you do your backyard entertaining.
Indoor step lights are similar in that they can be mounted flush on the face of the step or on the wall up the staircase. Many of these options come with sensors, so that the staircase lights up as you walk. This feature offers safety without wasting electricity.
Watch Your Step
If you are contemplating carpeting, low-pile carpet tends to be less likely to cause someone to fall. Should you choose an area rug over wall-to-wall carpet, place a pad underneath the rug to hold it in place and anchor it with furniture like a couch or coffee table.
Whether you opt for hardwood floors or tile, ensuring that flooring surfaces extend throughout the house or even as possible from one room to the next–perhaps by removing thresholds–can also reduce tripping.
Design a Kitchen You Love
Kitchens sell homes promises conventional wisdom. Many people view their kitchen as the heart of their house and often spend time customizing it to their liking. In fact, the National Association of Homebuilders found 79 percent of people remodel their kitchens in a recent survey.
Whether you a planning a major renovation or simply upgrading appliances when the original ones run their course, making some strategic choices in the kitchen can pay off big time. Single-lever or touchless faucets make using the sink easier. Cabinets can be customized with pullout drawers or Lazy Susans to make it much easier to reach what you need. Smart appliances come with features that allow users to check if something has been left open or on accidentally. Under cabinet lighting will boost the ambiance of the room and also make moving around in the evening safer.
Plan Ahead With Your Bathroom
Most homebuyers perform at least a minor bathroom remodel after buying their homes. In fact, HGTV lists it in the number 1 spot for the top 15 home updates that pay off. While the average bathroom remodel costs about $10,000, if you plan ahead when you purchase your home, you can make a remodel that offers everything you need now and as you age. Popular design changes that have an added bonus of increasing accessibility include adding curbless showers, handheld showerheads and wall-mounted benches. Â
Making updates to your house with Universal Design principles in mind that stress accessibility can be helpful to anyone of any age. While we tend to think of safety and accessibility features as practical features at odds with popular design aesthetic, that notion could not be farther from the truth. From sleek oil-brushed bronze door levers to floor-to-ceiling curbless glass shower stalls, these types of updates will allow you to age in place while also having a house than any home improvement expert would gladly showcase.
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