Aging in place is becoming more well-known as the millions of Baby Boomers get close to (or enter) retirement. Not everyone understands what aging in place means, but it is a fairly simple idea.
Aging in Place definition
Aging in place is used to describe the situation a person is in when they’ve chosen to live in a particular residence and will continue to do so, while getting any assistance they may need along the way. (See What is Aging in Place.)
In reality, everyone is aging in place and living in the homes of our choice as we grow older. Where things get challenging is when we reach the point in our lives when the things begin to naturally change for us.
These changes happen to us all and at different points in our lives. However, it is part of life. And, if you want to keep living the life you want later on, you have to plan for it. That’s where aging in place remodeling comes in.
» Aging in Place: The real cost of waiting to remodel
Homes for the rest of us
Did you know that almost every home ever built was designed in a way that would work best for able-bodied people between the ages of 20 and 30 years old?
Add to that, accessibility was not part of the design, nor was the use of Universal Design. (Both of which can make a home easier and more enjoyable to live in, regardless of a person’s age or abilities.)
The long and short of this look at housing is that most every home in the United States is NOT designed to help support you during the various stages of your life.
Aging in place remodeling
The good news is, there’s something that can be done for the millions of older people living in homes that don’t work for them. At the heart of the aging in place idea is that you personalize your life and what’s in it to help you later in life.
For your home, that means making changes to have it support you better, as well as keep you safe, happy and comfortable. Which means, you end up with a home that is easier to live in, and you keep more control over your life and home as time goes on. That helps you keep building the life that is meaningful to you.
The magic of main floor living
Aging in place remodeling leans heavily on the concept of “main floor living”. Which, simply means making changes so you have a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and laundry on a single, accessible floor of your home. And, if that last part (the accessible floor) can’t be accomplished, you use an elevator or other lift to help make it so.
Aging in place modifications
The focus of aging in place remodeling is to create an accessible, safe and comfortable home, which will help you stay where you want to be.
Some of the changes in your home could include:
- More open space
- Wider doorways and entrances
- Comfort height toilets
- More light in every room
- Sit down vanities and sinks
- Grab bars
- Universally designed appliances
- Varying counter height
- Task lighting
- Roll-out and pull-down shelves, open shelving
- Sit-under sinks, counters or cook tops
- No-step entry into home
- The right flooring (to reduce maintenance & falling)
- “D” style drawer pulls
- Lever handles for doors and faucets
- Additional shelving or storage to reduce clutter
Those are just some of the changes you could make in your home so you can age in place. As you can see, some are very easy, others more difficult.
As an Occupational Therapist, I can work with you on your home and you’ll get the benefit of my medical knowledge and experience helping our bodies interact with our environment. I’ll help you choose the right things to do very specifically for you and your life.
Aging in place is about personal power
It isn’t about being old. Rather, that you plan for and are ready to fully experience this stage of your life.
It’s not about being sick, either. Just the opposite; it’s about doing what you can to your home to keep you healthy at home.
It also isn’t about having a home that is ‘sterile’ looking. On the contrary; you can have a home that is beautiful, functional and perfectly suits your taste.
Aging in place is about taking control of your own future, working with a team of people who can help you define, plan for and help you achieve the things you want for your life; now and later.
If you choose to work with a knowledgeable Occupational Therapist, you can plan for and implement changes to your home in a single project or over time.
We offer the highest quality home accessibility products and home design services to help you prepare your home for aging in place in West Hartford, Hartford, Avon, Simsbury, Farmington, New Britain, Burlington and surrounding areas.
Certified Aging in Place Specialist
Kathy Subasic is one of the few Occupational Therapists in the nation who also has earned the Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) designation. This designation from the National Association of Home Builders Certification identifies her as a professional with the skills and knowledge to help people over 50 years old create homes they’ll need later in life.