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Aging in Place: How to Build or Remodel a Home for Aging Adults

Having an aging parent in your home is both a blessing and a challenge. On the one hand, you naturally want to take care of the person who devoted his or her life to caring for you. At the same time, aging parents have unique physical and mental challenges your house may not be equipped to handle. At Parker Design | Build | Remodel, we can help make your home accessible for your loved ones. Consider the following ways we can make your home welcoming for any challenges you may face.

Consider Physical Accessibility

Many aging parents have trouble getting around; some use mobility aids like canes, walkers, and wheelchairs, while others are fairly immobile without assistance. The average house has many mobility obstacles you may not think about. For example, if your parent uses a wheelchair, you might automatically think about adding a ramp to your front and back entrances, or hiring someone to replace stairs with sloping carpet or indoor ramps. However, you might not think about widening doors so wheelchairs can fit through them.

Another mobility issue lies in your flooring. Using a mobility device can make navigating wood and tile floors, and even carpet, difficult. Bathroom floors are particularly tricky, because they become slippery every time someone uses the shower or bath. Make sure your bathrooms are outfitted with no-slip rugs (invest in rugs and bath mats with secure grips on their undersides). Hire a professional to install handicap-accessible grab bars in the bathroom, particularly around the tub and toilet or to install a low shower or bath your parent can easily use.

 

Open Up Space

Most homeowners don’t recognize how little space or how much clutter they have until it becomes an issue for someone else. Aging parents may have trouble maneuvering in small or crowded rooms even if they are completely mobile. Be cognizant of this – donate, sell, or store as many unneeded items as possible. Do not use main rooms as storage spaces. Open up space where you can – if possible, rearrange furniture, or remove walls if your lifestyle and space allow it.

Check the Lighting

Your aging parent may have vision problems or may simply feel uncomfortable in dim rooms. Keep bedrooms, bathrooms, and the kitchen equipped with high-watt bulbs at all times. Use large windows, skylights, or chandeliers to bring light to public spaces and make your aging parent feel welcome in them.

If you need help creating a space your parent can easily access, contact Parker Design | Build | Remodel for a consultation.