Research shows that baby boomers’ expectations of where they’ll live as they age differ from that of their parents’ generation. Nursing homes, to many, represent a loss of freedom and a reduced quality of life. Therefore, Boomers will be less likely to move into congregate living settings. So, if you’re planning to grow older in your home, you’ll need to consider renovations to help you age in place.

Firstly, hire a qualified renovation consultant to inspect your home. They’ll determine if it can meet your changing needs as you age. A renovation consultant recommends corrections and adaptations to your home which improve maneuverability, accessibility, and safety for elderly occupants. For instance, they may recommend non-slip flooring or adequate handrails on both sides of stairways. Refer to the below examples of renovations which may be recommended to help you age in place.

Examples of Renovations to Help You Age in Place

Exterior:

  • low-maintenance exterior (vinyl, brick, etc.)
  • low-maintenance shrubs and plants

Entry:

  • sensor light at exterior no-step entry focusing on the front-door lock
  • non-slip flooring in foyer
  • accessible path of travel to the home
  • entry door sidelight or high/low peep hole viewer; sidelight should provide both privacy and safety
  • doorbell in accessible location
  • a surface on which to place packages while opening door
  • at least one no-step entry with a cover

Electrical, Lighting, Safety and Security:

  • install new smoke and CO detectors
  • install automated lighting, an emergency alert system, or a video-monitoring system
  • light switches by each entrance to halls and rooms
  • light receptacles with at least two bulbs in vital places (exits, bathroom)
  • easy-to-see and read thermostats
  • pre-programmed thermostats
  • light switches, thermostats and other environmental controls placed in accessible locations no higher than 48 inches from floor
  • move electrical cords out of the flow of traffic
  • replace standard light switches with rocker or touch-light switches

Overall Floor Plan:

  • main living on a single story, including full bath
  • 5-foot by 5-foot clear turn space in living area, kitchen, a bedroom and a bathroom
  • no steps between rooms on a single level

Flooring:

  • if carpeted, use low-density with firm pad
  • smooth, non-glare, slip-resistant surfaces, interior and exterior
  • colour and texture contrast to indicate change in surface levels

Hallways:

  • wide
  • well-lit
  • fasten down rugs and floor runners, and remove any that are not necessary

Stairways, Lifts and Elevators:

  • adequate handrails on both sides of stairway
  • residential elevator or lift
  • increased visibility of stairs through contrast strip on top and bottom stairs, and colour contrast between treads and risers on stairs with use of lighting

Bathroom:

  • fold-down seat installed in the shower
  • adjustable shower-heads with 6-foot hose
  • light in shower stall
  • wall support, and provision for adjustable and/or varied-height counters and removable base cabinets
  • contrasting colour edge border at countertops
  • at least one wheelchair-maneuverable bath on main level;
  • bracing in walls around tub, shower, shower seat and toilet for installation of grab bars
  • if stand-up shower is used in main bath, it is curbless and wide
  • low bathtub
  • toilet higher than standard toilet, or height-adjustable
  • design of the toilet paper holder allows rolls to be changed with one hand
  • wall-hung sink with knee space and panel to protect user from pipes
  • slip-resistant flooring in bathroom and shower

Kitchen:

  • base cabinet with roll-out tray
  • pull-down shelving
  • wall support, and provision for adjustable and/or varied-height counters and removable base cabinets
  • upper wall cabinets lower than conventional height
  • accented stripes on edge of countertops to provide visual orientation to the workspace
  • counter space for dish landing adjacent to or opposite all appliances
  • glass-front cabinet doors
  • open under-counter seated work areas
  • placement of task lighting in appropriate work areas
  • open shelving for easy access to frequently used items
  • 30-inch by 48-inch clear space at appliances, or 60-inch diameter clear space for turns
  • multi-level work areas to accommodate cooks of different heights
  • loop handles for easy grip and pull

Faucets:

  • thermostatic or anti-scald controls
  • lever handles or pedal-controlled
  • pressure-balanced faucets
  • pull-out spray faucet

Appliances:

  • microwave oven in wall or on counter
  • refrigerator and freezer side by side
  • side-swing or wall oven
  • controls that are easy to read
  • raised washing machine and dryer
  • front-loading washing machines
  • raised dishwasher with push-button controls
  • stoves having electric cooktops with level burners for safely transferring between the burners; front controls and downdraft feature to pull heat away from user; light to indicate when surface is hot
  • replace old stoves with induction cooktops to help prevent burns

Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning:

  • install energy-efficient units
  • HVAC should be designed so filters are easily accessible
  • windows that can be opened for cross-ventilation and fresh air

Reduced Maintenance and Convenience Features:

  • easy-to-clean surfaces
  • built-in recycling system
  • video phones
  • central vacuum
  • in multi-story homes, laundry chute or laundry facilities in master bedroom
  • built-in pet feeding system
  • intercom system

Storage:

  • lighting in closets
  • adjustable closet rods and shelves
  • easy-open doors that do not obstruct access

Windows:

  • plenty of windows for natural light
  • low-maintenance exterior and interior finishes
  • lowered windows, or taller windows with lower sill height
  • easy-to-operate hardware

Produced by Baker Street Home Inspection Services Inc. and RenoLogic.

Baker Street Home Inspection Services Inc. has been in business since 1985, conducting over 50,000 home inspections. RenoLogic offers homeowners impartial, expert advice on their home renovations and repairs.

Connect with Bonded by eRenovate™ Pros by using the eRenovate Post My Project tool. Enjoy Peace of Mind with the eRenovate Guarantee which offers $25,000 Deposit Payment protection and 88 Day Workmanship Guarantee.

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