What Is Aging in Place?
Aging in place is “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.”
Throughout our lives, we build emotional attachments to our homes, neighborhoods, and communities. As we get older, and our physical conditions change. Most of us will not want to leave our homes to relocate to a retirement community or a nursing home. Many of us can remain in our homes and age in place by converting the living conditions within our home. These changes allow us to remain in our homes while maintaining and improving our quality of life.
Some of these home improvements may be small (ex: installing grab bars in showers or remodeling a kitchen); and others may be large (ex: remodeling a home so that it is now a one-floor living space, creating a more open floor plan, or redesigning/relocating a bedroom or bathroom). Ultimately, these remodels, renovations, and changes will make personal care, household chores, and meal prep easier.
Here at Shakespeare, we can help modify or remodel your home in preparation for aging in place.
When to Start Planning for Aging in Place?
It may sound strange, but it is never too early to start planning ahead to age in place.
By 2030, it is estimated that there will be 70+ million Americans who are age 65 and above. These seniors will make up roughly 20% of the population, and it is important to prepare homes and facilities in advance to accommodate for this influx.
The main problem with planning ahead to age in place is that no one can really know how their needs will change. But it is important to plan ahead before your needs or conditions do drastically change, and redesigning or remodeling the home becomes an urgent or life altering step.
When planning ahead to age in place, it is important to take into consideration any preexisting conditions. You should talk to your doctor about how these preexisting conditions and/or chronic diseases might affect you. Take your doctor’s advice into consideration when planning renovations around the house that will make it easier to age in place.
It is important to think about what you might want in the future while keeping in mind that physical, mental, social, and emotional changes can and will affect the lives of most seniors. It is also crucial to remain open to any unexpected changes that may arise as you age.
Challenges of Aging
The greatest threat – and the leading cause of injurious death among older adults – is falling. Therefore, it is crucial to make changes and modifications around the house to prevent falls as we get older. Many of these are small, simple, and low-cost modifications such as adding grab bars and non-skid mats in showers and bathtubs to help prevent slips and falls, adding new and/or additional handrails at stairways, and removing tripping hazards such as loose throw rugs and clutter. More expensive modifications may include retrofitting the home to remove or redesign larger and more dangerous tripping hazards.
Other challenges and changes that come with aging are:
- Poor eyesight
- Decreased or diminished hearing
- Reduced muscle mass and strength
- Diminished physical and mental stamina
- Bone fragility that may cause a higher risk of accidents and broken bones
- Reduced balance
- Diminished mobility, agility, and flexibility
- Physical, mental, and emotional changes
- Decrease in motor skills, fine motor skills, and cogitative functioning
Old age will affect everyone differently. Some of us may undergo all of these challenges and changes, and others will only experience a few of them. Regardless, in some way, old age will most likely affect everyone’s daily activities and general upkeep around the house and yard – such as gardening, cleaning, heavy lifting, and/or going up/down the stairs.
Aging in Place Remodel and Home Design Ideas
There is no one-design-fits-all when it comes to modifying or remodeling the home to age in place. Everyone is unique, as are their needs and their homes.
Some ideas for modifying and remodeling are:
- installing grab bars in an existing shower and/or bathtub, as well as nonskid mats
- remodeling an existing bathroom with a walk-in shower and/or walk-in bathtub
- adding a new bathroom or powder room
- relocating a bedroom from the second floor to the first floor
- remodeling a preexisting first floor room into a new bedroom
- adding an addition with new master bedroom and master bathroom
- remodeling the kitchen to add convenience and easy-to-clean surfaces and/or adjustable sliding shelves for easier accessibility
- increasing the lighting throughout the house for better visibility
- installing easily accessible switches and controls (for lights, thermostats, etc.)
- changing to easy-to-use door handles and faucets
- putting in a stairlift or elevator to the second floor
- making the home wheelchair-accessible and walker-friendly (may involve widening a doorway or a hallway)
- making the outside and inside entryway step-free and hazard-free for those with walkers, canes, and wheelchairs
- adding ramps at entryways for wheelchair accessibility
All these aging in place home remodel ideas are great ways to allow seniors to remain at home and age in place by creating a safer environment and easier accessibility for cooking, cleaning, and everyday living.
At Shakespeare, we are equipped to help you with all of these projects – both small and large.
Why Shakespeare Home Improvement Co. is Your Choice for Aging in Place in Lancaster County
There is only one way to put it…we here at Shakespeare are experts in the field of aging in place. The owner of the company has over 20 years of personal experience in redesigning and renovating his home to be an environment that accommodates a mobility challenged person due to the fact that his spouse requires wheelchair accessibility. This has made him an expert in the field, and he wants to share his experience with others to create a safe and happy environment for them as well.
We have a lot of experience designing home remodels for the elderly and for seniors. Shakespeare has helped many elderly homeowners achieve the dream of remaining in their home despite changing ability levels. We also help our customers think of elderly-friendly home design ideas and concepts to transform their current living situation. This allows seniors to remain living in their homes for many years to come.
Contact us at Shakespeare for a free consultation if you’re interested in remodeling or renovating your home so that you can age in place.