Three paths to comfort, safety and happiness as we age.
2018 will be my 58th year on earth. Most days I feel barely 40. However, two foot surgeries and an arthritic knee make me curse the stairs of my 50- year-old, three-flight split-level home all the way down to the basement laundry room.
In the 1950’s and 60’s, homes in my town were built for young families - not for aging baby boomers, and certainly not for people in their 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and beyond. Yet, we become attached to these structures where we create a life, raise our kids and make our memories.
It’s tough to watch a parent struggle to get around in the home they don’t want to leave. My friend’s recently-widowed mom could no longer climb her steep stairs. They converted the downstairs dining room to her bedroom, and carved a new walker-accessible bathroom out of part of the living room. It wasn’t cheap. But she is happy. And safe.
Everyone has a vision of where and how they’ll age. If you want to remain in your home, do some honest evaluation. After we pass 50, our balance isn’t as great. Joints begin to hurt. And if we’re not actively maintaining our core strength and balance, our risk of falling and injury rises.
According to this HomeCare Magazine article, the time to plan either home modifications or remodeling is before you hit 60, not after a crisis and there’s little time. Plus, if you do the renovation or remodeling early on, you get to enjoy the benefits longer. Here is a checklist to guide you.
Modifications vs. Remodeling
Would your home’s current layout and features be movement-friendly and safe if you were to need a cane? A walker? A wheelchair? A special bed?
It’s all well and good to put grab bars on the walls, eliminate the slippery rugs and install a home security system. These are the first-level modifications many people install themselves. But if you can’t walk easily on your own and/o