With Baby boomers coming in to their own and the rising cost of elder care in this nations the concept of aging in place as long as humanly possible becomes very important. As many assisted living facilities are popping up all over the place, there will not be enough to house or care for you as you age. The best and most economical solution is to simply remodel the home you are in to make it as barrier free as possible. This will allow you to stay home, stay independent and maintain your dignity for as long as you are able to care for yourself.
The thing is you don’t even have to be that old to need these amenities. One of my neighbors is retired but by no means inactive. Yet she fell off her horse and broke her leg and was in a wheel chair for months. She lives alone and only had a tub in her bathroom. She had to have help to bath herself. So many women live alone, as they live longer than their husbands. Anything can happen, whether you are 65 or 95, the idea is to make your home safe, healthy and versatile for all of your future needs.
What that means is as designers we address simple things like:
1) Door opening size changing to 36″ opening
2) Height of sinks
3) Lower storage options so if you are in a wheel chair you can reach the cereal
4) Putting blocking (extra 2 x 4’s) in the walls to install grab bars in the future
5) Roll in shower (make the floor of the shower flush with floor of the bathroom), etc.
6) Adding a bench and a slide bar for the shower head, so you maintain the independence to wash yourself
These are only a few things that can help you stay put over the long haul of getting older. They will help you stay independent and safe. The money you may spend making these alterations will be a fraction of the cost you will spend if you need to move out of your home into an assisted living facility. Go find a designer, talk with them about your wants and needs, get a plan together and prepare for a long healthy future in your own home!