Aging in Place Checklist: How to Design a Safe and Accessible Home

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When you first purchase your home, the last thing that is on your mind is how well your home is going to suit you decades in the future. As you get older, however, you may begin to notice that certain aspects of your home are not as easy to navigate or use as they once were. Fortunately, you can easily make your home safer for yourself and others by focusing on making the home improvements necessary to create a better environment. If you want to know how this entire process works, use the aging in place checklist provided below to learn more about how to design a safe and accessible home.

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1. Evaluate Your Current Health Status (and Potential Health Problems)

Preparing for the future is always a good idea, but making home improvements without knowing exactly what areas you should focus on can result in a massive final cost that you weren’t prepared for. The first item on this checklist is to assess your health to better determine what changes you will need to make. For example, if you are already in a wheelchair or expect that you will be, you will want to plan ahead and install ramps or make changes to the width of your doorways.

If, on the other hand, you are experiencing mobility issues that impact your balance and ability to walk well, you may want to change certain surfaces (such as replacing slippery tile with a laminate floor installation) and install grab bars to keep your balance throughout certain areas of the home.

It’s also a great choice to consider any health issues you may be at risk for and thinking about those as you are planning future renovations.

2. Identify the Biggest Areas of Concern

Renovating your home will obviously depend upon two factors: your current needs and your available budget. While the goal is to make sure that everything has been modified to suit your needs in the future, you should focus on the most problematic areas first. Some of the main areas that homeowners should focus on include:

  • The Bathroom: For the elderly, the bathroom can often present the most risk. From the moisture that covers the floor and shower and makes it slippery to the lack of balance that they may experience while trying to climb in and out of a bath or shower, the bathroom is very dangerous to those who are at risk of falling. For this area, look to install a new floor, grab bars, a walk-in shower or tub with a sitting area.
  • Stairs and Flooring: For those with mobility issues, stairs can be a big problem, especially if the stairs are covered with a wood floor rather than carpeting. To make them safer, consider using a non-slip surface or even adding a chair lift so that you can get to the top with ease. The flooring in your house can be another major problem. If you have hardwood floors that cover every square foot of your home, these slippery surfaces may be dangerous to you later on. Consider looking for new floors that better suit your needs.
  • Windows and Doors: If your home is not accessible to you, it is not safe. Make sure that all of your doors a wide enough to allow you through (especially if you have a wheelchair), that your hallways are wide enough to move through with plenty of space, and that your windows are reachable and easy to close and lock.

While your focus areas may vary from the list above, these areas and sections of your home are generally a great place to start when you begin your renovations.

3. Focus on Smaller Projects That Will Make Life Easier

Once you’ve tackled some of the larger areas of concern, you can turn your attention to minor projects that will make it easier to navigate your home and go about your daily life. These projects will most likely focus on the quality of your lighting and how bright certain areas, where cabinets are placed and how you could place them for easier access, and how simple certain appliances are for you to get to. Although these small projects are not as necessary as the ones listed above, they are still major focus points and projects that you should take care of in the future.

Every step of your life is planned out, so why shouldn’t your home be? If you want to age in place safely and comfortably, make sure to look for a general contractor with years of experience in home improvement Freehold NJ. Contractors who have worked with several aging-in-place designs in the past will know exactly what you are looking for, what the average cost will be for these repairs, and how to save your money on the final cost. As long as you follow these step-by-step instructions and do your research, you will build a safe and happy home.