Today we are inundated with all kinds of information on TV and social media about the nature of our spaces as we age. If you are over the age of 50 or you have aging parents in your home, these are issues you have probably heard about and may even be considering for yourself. We see terms like retirement community options, Universal Design, Aging in Place, and ADA compliance thrown around frequently in the conversation. But what does it all really mean?
The truth is that there are several important paradigm shifts occurring in the way we are thinking about how to live as we age. The biggest paradigm shift today is a focus on quality of life as we age, regardless of the place—whether we live at our personal home, a nursing home, or a fine retirement community.
Unfortunately, it is impossible to think about quality of life without thinking about cost of living. Trying to envision the quality of life we want and then calculate the monthly costs associated with aging in any of the above circumstances is enough to ruin your day.
However, several of our most recent clients have been inspired by the idea of making a few necessary changes to their existing homes in order to maintain the same level of quality of life that they have become accustomed to over the past 10-30 years—and doing so in a smart, cost-effective way. Most of our clients today are opting to invest the necessary money for such improvements now, and Aging in Place, so that getting older doesn’t have to mean losing everything you have come to know and love.
Aging in Place, also known as Universal Design, specifically considers the way we live and use the main areas of our house as we age. Certain considerations become more important, such as access to the home, main shower, and water closet; the height of plumbing fixtures, dressing areas, and sinks; and the overall amount of space needed for easy mobility throughout the space. For instance, bathroom features, such as zero threshold with a linear drain, make access to the shower in a wheelchair much easier. A strong elegant seat in the shower, the height of the shower valve controls, and handheld sprayers are all designed for excellent ease-of-use as we age in our homes. And the ultimate feature of Aging in Place revolves around how we take care of our most intimate needs: yes, going to the bathroom. One of my favorite luxuries in my home is my new toilet and washlet seat by TOTO. Oh yes, I will take my power back! No need for anyone to take care of me in that department.
So, ask yourself, what would it take to retrofit your existing home in order to continue living at the address you are in now? Knowledge is power. Schedule an appointment with someone who knows what it would take to keep you happy and comfortable in your own home as you age.
I look forward to hearing from you!