While some retirees opt to sell everything and move South, many others want to stay in the home and area they have always enjoyed. But, the homes that served us well in our 30s and 40s may become problematic as we age. Here are some tips and recommendations when remodeling your home for retirement with universal design in mind. It’s important to understand that the goal of universal design is to create spaces that are fundamentally and easily accessible to everyone.
One Level Living
Earlier in life, we may have bounced up the steps to our front door or second-floor master suite with ease. Later in life, those steps pose a real hazard. So the goal is to try and create a one level living environment. By remodeling the first floor and creating a master suite on the first level, the home becomes much more functional. A full first-floor bath should also be part of the remodeling process. Your design team can help design your space to make it accommodating and functional.
Bathrooms can be extremely dangerous places. Walk-in tubs are marketed as desirable options, but there are a variety of design features that must be considered. First, these tubs often have a low step to climb over. If you have balance or issues with steps and this is an obvious consideration. Secondly, there is often a narrow door you must navigate to get into the tub, and you can’t shut the door until you are out of the way, once inside the tub. A better option is a curbless shower with no steps, where a portable shower seat can be placed, if needed. Reinforce walls in your bathroom to allow grab bars to be installed. These should be placed near the toilet, near the shower entrance, and inside the shower at a minimum.
During the remodeling process, doors should be widened to accommodate wheelchairs, scooters or walkers. Door handles and hardware should be updated so that they are easier to grasp and open. Typically, these openings are recommended to be 44”.
If you need help remodeling your home to accommodate your needs while aging, contact Parker Design Build Remodel for a free consultation. Our design team will assist you with everything you need to know about Aging in Place.