Aging in Place – Is Your Home Ready?

We are hearing a lot lately about Universal Design.  With so many baby boomers choosing to ‘Age in Place’, or age at home, instead of a senior’s residence, it is becoming increasingly important that our homes be adapted to accommodate our aging bodies.  As we age there are many factors which need to be considered to keep our homes safe and user-friendly.  Changes in our vision, hearing, balance/stability, strength, and mobility are some of the things that will inevitably change, and our homes will need to be designed accordingly.

Citizens for Accessible Neighbourhoods http://www.canbc.org/universal_design.htm have listed the 7 Principles of Universal Design, which establish guidelines for designing ‘Barrier Free Environments’:

  1. Equitable Use:
    The design is useful and marketable to any group of users.
  2. Flexibility in Use:
    The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.
  3. Simple and Intuitive Use:
    Use of the design is easy to understand.
  4. Perceptible Information:
    The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user.
  5. Tolerance for Error:
    The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintentional actions.
  6. Low Physical Effort:
    The design can be used efficiently and comfortably.
  7. Size and Space for Approach and Use:
    Appropriate size and space is provided for approach and use.

If you plan to Age in Place, can your home accommodate a wheel chair?  Even if you won’t need one, there may be friends or family who will visit and need access to your front door and bathroom.  Here are some other things you may want to consider:

  • Removing carpet or area rugs that could prove to be a tripping hazard
  • Replacing door knobs with levers that are easier to use
  • Adding grab bars/handrails inside your bathtub or shower and beside the toilet
  • Replacing stairs with ramps
  • Replace your bathtub with a walk-in curb-free shower (see photo)
  • Replacing hardwired telephones with portable ones
  • Installing crank-operated windows
  • Replacing curtains with easier-to-operate & maintain blinds
  • Converting cupboards to drawers or sliding shelves for easier access to back items
  • Installing single-lever faucets
  • Adjusting the height of toilets
  • Installing motion sensitive lighting
  • Using contrasting colours, textures, or patterns for depth perception issues

With some thoughtful planning, Aging in Place can be a possible and very positive choice!

shower european-wet-rooms

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LANEWAY LIVING FOR DOWNSIZING BOOMERS

Laneway Homes have become a very fashionable way for seniors to realize independent living while still downsizing considerably and reducing maintenance and financial responsibilities.  One Vancouver woman has written a blog called “The Lady Who Lives Down the Lane – Laneway Living for the Nervous Novice”.  She takes us through this challenging, sometimes very humorous, journey as she moves from her large family home to a laneway house.  Her daughter and family have taken over the responsibility of the family home and are busy renovating – meanwhile, ‘the Lady’ and her husband begin construction of the laneway house at the back of the property. 

Start back at her first post in June of 2012 – this is a really fun read, and extremely informative if you’re considering a similar venture – enjoy!!

http://ladywholivesdownthelane.com/2012/06

laneway home und construction

Active Seniors Preparing Early for Retirement

According to the PewResearch Centre (an American ‘fact’ tank), the youngest of the 76 million boomers started turning 50 in 2011 and 10,000 boomers per day will turn 65 from now through 2030! To quote The Fiscal Times, “these demographics alone are driving the increased demand for 55-plus communities. The concept has gotten an even bigger boost in recent years as more boomers find themselves sitting on an empty nest in an active housing market.”  Read more:

http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2014/01/10/Booming-Housing-Market-Boomer-Retirees?goback=.gde_2472444_member_5828933662363648001#

The youngest of the 76 million boomers have begun turning 50 this year and 10,000 boomers per day will turn 65 from now through 2030. These demographics alone are driving the increased demand for 55-plus communities. The concept has gotten an even bigger boost in recent years as more boomers find themselves sitting on an empty nest in an active housing market. – See more at: http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2014/01/10/Booming-Housing-Market-Boomer-Retirees?goback=%2Egde_2472444_member_5828933662363648001#%21