Boomers always pave the way and it seems there is growing evidence that this generation will change the way we live- by continuing to live in their homes as they grow older. Back when they were building or purchasing homes they paid little notice to how many steps lead to the front door or the height of the ceilings. New technology geared for the boomers has enabled them to redesign their homes to make them comfortable for both themselves and their grandchildren. The one drawback is that some people have difficulty visualizing what their needs will be in the future. “You have to design for a ‘you’ that doesn’t exist yet” claims Louis Tenembaum, a contractor and founder of the Aging In Place Institute.
Research conducted at Harvard University reveal that less than 25% of homeowners over the age of 55 live in homes with master bedrooms and baths on the first floor. Remodeling can be expensive, but needs to be built into people’s retirement plans, much like their finances. It makes more sense than paying the price of assisted living environments.
The New Way To Live
I read an article about a couple who were living in the country and decided to move to a more suburban area. They had experienced seeing their parents age and decided they wanted hassle free housing and minimal upkeep. They bought their parents home, tore it down and built it to their age friendly specs! What does this entail? Well…
1. Gently sloping walkways with landscaping on both sides to disguise it and no steps to their home.
2. Master bedroom and bath on the first floor.
3. Wide door to powder room.
4. Elegant grab bars with space below for a walker.
5. Visitors bedrooms on upper level.
6. Creation of a meadow with wild flowers to eliminate the need to mow the grass.
7. Designed with materials that will utilize energy efficiently.
Other Ways To Make Your Home More Age Appropriate
Bathrooms seem to be the room where so many people slip and fall. Ways of making this room more user friendly include expanding the door, raising the height of the vanity, install lever faucets, a curb less walk in shower and a teak fold up chair.
Contemporizing other main rooms require recessing area mats into the hardwood floors and installing heat tiled floors. Make kitchen counters different heights for different needs, eliminate high cabinets, and make drawers and doors underneath the counter automatically close. Other helpful hints include placing outlets higher off the floor to eliminate bending over and activating a keyless entry system.
These are all great suggestions for growing old with gusto by staying in the environment you are familiar with and hold good memories!