There is a paradigm shift in the way we are choosing to live as we age. Today we are inundated with all kinds of information on TV and social media about our spaces as we age, such as, retirement community options, Universal Design, Aging in Place, ADA compliance, but what does it all really mean? Well, if you are over the age of 50 or you have aging parents in your home this is probably something that may have caught your ear or this might be something that you are contemplating for your home as an alternative to moving or shopping around for that ideal retirement home.
The biggest paradigm shift today is our focus on the quality of life as we age, regardless of the place. As you think about the monthly costs to maintain your current quality of life the idea of aging in place has made many of our most recent clients consider this option. Several clients have been inspired by the idea of making a few minor changes to their existing homes to maintain the same level of quality of life that they have become so accustomed to over the past 10-30 years they have spent in their current home. For many, opting to invest the necessary money for these improvements to their existing homes as the decide to age in place gives them peace of mind knowing that getting older doesn’t have to mean losing everything they have come to love and enjoy.
Aging in place as you get older or using universal design concepts when you are younger places the focus on the way you live and use the main areas of your house. Both concepts consider basic things like shower access; considering the width of your shower door and the height of the threshold and your ability to maneuver in the event you become sick or need a wheelchair. Universal design also helps ensure all the doorways are wider, again to help not only move bigger furniture pieces in and out of rooms but also help in the event you need to use a wheelchair. Not everything centers around wheelchair usage, no step entries, extra floor space, non-slip surfaces, improved lighting and even lever door handles and paddle switches all incorporate these design concepts.
Since most of our remodeling is centered around the bathroom, let’s consider personal hygiene; yes, I do mean that specific function of who will take care of your most personal needs? Today, aging in place can be a lot of fun as well as beautiful with features such a zero threshold with a linear drain, making access to the shower much easier. A strong elegant seat in the shower, the height of the shower valve controls, and handheld sprayers all designed for the ease of use as we age in our homes. Grab bars and handrails have also seen great improvement in recent years. The ultimate feature in aging in place is how we take care of our most intimate needs, going to the bathroom; one of my most favorite luxuries in all my bathrooms is the 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.
The best part about many of these updates, is the fact, that they no longer make your home look like a nursing home or a hospital. We have had the pleasure of completing multiple projects over the past few years, such as the featured bathroom here belonging to Dr. Ron and Sally Bosher. To see more “Aging in Place” projects, please visit our project portfolio.