Aging-in-Place: Accessible Housing Tips

According to a 2018 AARP report, 76% of Americans ages 50 and older say they prefer to remain in their current residence and 77% would like to live in their community as long as possible. In order to make this wish a reality, homes must be designed with age-in-place features to help older homeowners stay comfortable and independent in their own homes for as long as possible. 

Here are some of the top features to include for aging in place:

Overall Design

Your home should be designed in a way that even as you get older, you’ll still be able to navigate the entirety of the house, or at least the areas you use most often. 

The simplest way to do this would be to choose a one-level house with an open concept. If you do have a house with more than one floor, try moving everything to the main floor. That way it is much more accommodating to get to your everyday needs as you grow in age. If you’re looking to move, keeping an eye out for a first-floor master bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom should be top priority.

If you regularly need to access the second floor of your home, we recommend a motorized stairlift. Some homeowners are even installing elevators in their homes.

Build wide doorways (36”) and halls to accommodate wheelchairs or other walking aids. The home should have a level walking surface. This means no areas that you have to step into and no tripping hazards like thick throw rugs.

Doorknobs should be replaced with easier-to-grasp levers, and lighting should be ample to accommodate failing vision.

Smart home features are also great for aging homeowners! Any process that can be automated or controlled by the push of a button will save a mobility-challenged homeowner from straining or possibly injuring themselves.

Bedroom

Your bed and bedroom furniture should be low and easy to access. Install handrails near the bed. In the closet,  install lighting and pull-down rods.

Bathroom

Bathrooms can be dangerous for elderly homeowners. Avoid step-in tubs and opt for a shower instead. Install a shower seat and handrails in the shower and near the toilet.

Kitchen

Make sure everything in the kitchen is within reach. Low storage options are preferred rather than storing items in high cabinets. Install chair-height countertops and appliances and touchless faucets. Choose appliances with buttons on the front so you will not have to struggle to reach towards the back.

Outdoor

As you get older, it may become difficult to maintain your outdoor space. Choose low-maintenance plants and install a sprinkler system. It also wouldn’t hurt to ask any younger kids in the neighborhood to help out. They’re great in company, and affordable. 

Financial Assistance

Aging-in-place modifications can be expensive, but there is financial assistance available. Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurances may cover some modifications. You can also check with your local state Aging or Housing agency for assistance.

Conclusion

Aging in place is certainly possible with careful planning and the proper home modifications. If you have more questions and would like to speak with a remodeling expert, please reach out.

The Multipurpose Garage

Many people are underutilizing their garage to just park their car and store their rarely-used or seasonal items. Garages have the potential to be a wonderful add-on to your living space when organized and used creatively. 

When done right, repurposing your garage can add a fantastic bonus room to your house! Here are some great ideas to get you started.

Why the Garage?

There are several reasons that garages are a great space for a multipurpose room. They are usually large, making them suitable for a variety of different uses. Opening the door can provide you with great ventilation for messy projects, or cases where you are dealing with dangerous fumes. Garages can also allow you to be noisy without disturbing the rest of your household. Best of all, if you already own a home with a garage, you don’t need to build a costly addition to expand your home. Your garage is a spacious bonus room just waiting to happen!

How to Prep Your Garage as a Multipurpose Space

If you’re going to use your garage for something other than just storing your vehicle, you’ll want to make sure to add these features:

  • Make sure it is well-insulated and install a heating and cooling system, so that it can remain a comfortable temperature year-around. 
  • Install good lighting, and have it equipped with plenty of electrical outlets. 
  • Consider more comfortable flooring for your feet, as most garages are made of concrete.
  • If you want the convenience of a sink while getting your hands dirty on a project or prepping some snacks, have appropriate plumbing installed.

You will also want to make sure to optimize storage space with creative storage solutions. It is important to find ways to minimize clutter to make the most use of your garage space for other purposes.

Multipurpose Garage Ideas

Now that your garage is prepped, here are some fun ways to use your new living space:

  • A Workshop or Art Studio – Your garage is a great place to get messy! Outfit your garage with workbenches to do your art, crafting, or construction projects. 
  • A Home Office – With work-from-home situations becoming more common nowadays, you might be struggling to find a suitable workspace in your home. Have you considered a home office in your garage?
  • A Home Gym – A garage is a great place to get sweaty, especially when the weather is nice and you can open up the door to get some refreshing air.
  • An Entertainment Room – You can create the ultimate entertainment space in your garage. Consider a game room, arcade, or even a home movie theater!
  • A Lounge or Guest Room – With the proper insulation, lighting, electrical, and flooring, you can even repurpose your garage to be basically another room in your house – perfect for lounging or hosting guests.
  • A Kid’s Playplace – Tired of seeing your kids’ toys strewn all over the house? Turn your garage into the ultimate playroom for your kids.

There are so many creative ways to make the most of your garage space. What does your dream garage look like?

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