Are you among the millions of Americans who plan to stay in their current home to enjoy retirement? If so, you may find that your home needs updating to make life easier as you age. These age-friendly features, best known as Universal Design, can make your home more comfortable for people of all ages without feeling institutional. Gone are the days of hospital style grab bars. Today, you can have features which are both accommodating and beautiful. But how do you know which projects are the highest priority or which features would make the most sense in your home? Choosing an aging-in-place professional to guide you can take the stress out of the remodeling process and help you maintain your independent lifestyle in your home for years to come.
Jesse DeBenedictis, owner of Works by JD, is a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) with the National Association Of Home Builders. As a CAPS professional, Jesse uses universal design principles to create a comfortable environment which offers greater independence in your home — today and in the future. But it doesn’t stop with addressing design. CAPS professionals are trained in common remodeling projects and costs, accessibility issues, product recommendations, codes and standards, and the process and resources needed to provide a complete aging in place solution. Having a CAPS professional on your team assures that you’re working with someone who has the knowledge and training to provide you with the best in barrier-free living.
Top Aging-in-Place Improvements
Here in New England, our homes are as unique as the individuals who reside in them, so there is no one-size-fits-all solution to aging-in-place. Working with Jesse and taking advantage of his years of industry experience and CAPS training can help you decide what’s best for your home and your unique situation. There’s no right or wrong answer, just what’s “right” for you. “Our goal is to design to your individual needs, “ says Jesse. “But with universal design, these improvements will benefit everyone, not just someone facing the limitations of age or a disability.”
We’ve collected six of the most popular and practical ideas in universal design to help get you thinking about your remodeling options and what works for your situation.
- No-stair entry: Whether it’s the front door, side door or through the garage, having at least one entryway to use without the hassle of stairs will allow anyone to safely enter the house.
- Wider doorways: Widening doorways to at least 36 inches will allow enough room for wheelchairs, walkers or personal assistance when moving from room to room.
- Easy to use handles & switches: Replace light switches, door knobs and faucets with rocker switches and lever handles that are simpler to use. Touchless faucets, operated by sensors, are also a great option.
- Bathroom: Bathroom improvements like a curbless shower, bench seat, hand-held shower head, comfort-height toilets and grab bars can all go a long way to increasing comfort and ease of use. If possible, having a bathroom on the main level is preferable.
- Kitchen: Ample task lighting, contrasting edges on countertops and seated work areas are all good places to start improving your kitchen. Additionally, consider appliances that offer less stooping or reaching to use, such as a countertop or drawer microwave, wall oven or a refrigerator with french doors. Cabinets with drawers and pull out shelves make contents easier to see and reach.
- Flooring: Area rugs can be a tripping hazard and carpeting can make wheelchair and walker maneuverability difficult. Opting for vinyl, linoleum, wood or cork flooring provides a more forgiving surface and improved mobility. Eliminate thresholds and level changes wherever possible for smoother transitions.
Again, any improvements should be tailored to the structure of your home and needs of your household. We would love to speak with you about how Works by JD can help improve your space with universal design. Let us help you create a barrier-free space to enjoy today and into the future. Call us today at 978-360-2710 or schedule a time to talk by booking at https://calendly.com/worksbyjd. We look forward to speaking with you!