Barrier-free conversions, universal design, aging-in-place
What is barrier-free remodeling?
Barrier-free remodeling, also called aging-in-place renovations, or universal design, refers to home improvements designed for handicap accessibility. Homeowners confined to wheelchairs or walkers, or who need assistance with home appliances find barrier free structures helpful and allow them to move through a space without obstacles. However, barrier-free construction is more than just accommodating special needs. Short people, tall people, older people, younger people: there are many differences in needs during various stages of life.
Whether you call it "getting ready for retirement," aging-in-place, universal design, or barrier-free conversions, it means transforming your living space for everyone, no matter what limitations may exist.
When Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) are enjoying their holidays golfing, hunting, fishing or traveling, it’s hard to think about the “retirement years.” They are way too busy enjoying life to contemplate the next phase of life.
But by 2020, the population of retirement-age Americans is expected to grow by 75%. In a recent AARP survey of respondents 45 and older, 83% said they would prefer to live out their lives in their current homes rather than move into a retirement community, assisted living facility or nursing home.
A Guide to Aging in Place, from the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association, says it best: Our home is our security... The control we wield in our home is the source of our independence, dignity and quality of life. But remaining in our homes is not without certain challenges. Homes that were convenient when we were younger can cause problems in later years. As our lifestyle and needs change, so should our home environments. In order to “age in place” many homes will need minor and/or major remodeling, depending on the specific needs of the occupants and conditions of their home.
Changes to consider:
Minor changes are easy to implement with little cost:
- Increase wattage in light bulbs
- Use double sided tape to secure rugs
- Install emergency response systems
- Use non-slip strips on steps
Small remodeling projects include:
- Install higher toilets
- Add grab bars in bath
- Replace faucets and doors with levers
Larger remodeling projects include:
- Modify home to allow first floor living
- Widen doorways in anticipation of wheelchair access or walkers
- Install ramp, stair lift or elevator
- Make outside entrance more accessible with ramp
- Enlarge bathroom size to accommodate wheelchair access
- Install roll-in, curb free showers
- Move laundry to bedroom floor
- Raising countertops to reduce bending
- Installing drawer-type dishwashers to reduce bending
These projects need not be done at one time, but over the years, when other changes are being made, incorporate them into other improvements.
Call today to see what changes can help you be more comfortable in your home.