Lodinews.com

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
|
||
Logout|My Dashboard

Home modifications save lives, money

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Wednesday, April 8, 2009 10:00 pm

One of my friends just added a gorgeous, walk-in shower to a first-floor bathroom that sits nicely behind a kitchen pantry and easily is accessible to the kitchen, den and home office. The huge rectangular glass-door enclosure features a sliding shower head that can rise more than 8 feet above the stone floor.

"Are you expecting grandkids that will be 6-foot-7," I laughed.

"That … and if something ever happens to us, we'll need a shower downstairs. That office could quickly become a bedroom."

Finding the perfect house is a dream we all share. Having that house remain perfect - or even functional - for our specific needs during the later part of our lives is a totally new ballgame. Many older Americans are now finding their once-perfect house that sheltered their babies no longer is perfect for them in retirement or once the kids have gone.

Do you sell, pay the closing costs on the house and a real estate commission, and move to a different neighborhood, church, grocery store and senior center? Or, do you stay in the home and remain in the familiar environment you've enjoyed for years? If you decide to stay - and an overwhelming number of elders would prefer to stay put - what will you do to make it work?

Nearly a quarter of Americans aged 45 or older say they, or someone they live with, will have trouble maneuvering around their home in the coming years. In addition, fewer than 10 percent of the nation's 100 million housing units have features to make them universally accessible.

Households with residents of all ages have roots in their communities and strong emotional ties to their homes. Few people want to move solely because their house no longer fits their needs. Allocating money for modification needs, however, may get lost among many other pressing items, especially in an economic downturn. While adding a wonderful new shower is nice, "home mods" typically entail smaller projects.

Home modifications refer to adaptations to homes that can make it easier for someone to carry out daily activities, such as preparing meals, climbing stairs, bathing, as well as changes to the physical structure of a home to improve its overall safety and condition. These project designs have come a long way and are custom, attractive amenities that no longer sing out that "an old person lives here." They can also enhance the resale value of the home once the present homeowner must move to another place. These improvements and alterations can serve all ages, hence the name universal design (UD).

"Seniors and boomers are so active now that some of the activities are clearly putting stress on their bodies," said Susan Mack, a California-based occupational therapist. "I've got people who are getting hip and knee replacements in their 60s and people in their 40s getting their knees scoped. This did not happen with previous generations because they didn't live as long nor did they put this stress on their bones so soon.

"If you've got a sports injury, do you want to come home to a house that is fraught with hazards and barriers? These are not just designs and ideas for the frail elderly. We are also providing solutions for people who never thought they were going to get old - at least not this quickly." …CONTINUED

[pagebreak]

Why now? First, people remodel, rather than move, in a down market. Plus, an AARP study compared persons living in a UD house with others in traditional settings. The study found significant cost differences for health care - those in UD settings paid less than half the amount paid by those living in regular designs. The study pointed to savings by "undergoing less physical decline." For example, by providing at least one no-step entry to homes, the likelihood of falls and injuries is reduced and also allows for safer exits during a fire or other emergency.

More importantly, U.S. builders and remodelers have anticipated the huge need - and financial rewards resulting from it - and jumped on board. The National Association of Home Builders, a Washington, D.C.-based trade association representing more than 205,000 members involved in home building, remodeling, property management and other services, now offer a certified aging-in-place (CAPS) designation.

Maybe I should speak with one those specialists before I get me knee scoped.

Helping at Home: Basic Home Modifications

ACTIVITY

COMMON HOME MODIFICATION

Using the bathroom

* Install grab bars, shower seats or transfer benches
* Place non-skid strips or decals in the tub or shower

Turning faucets or doorknobs

* Install faucet or doorknob adapters

Getting in and out of the home and narrow doorways

* Install permanent or portable ramps
* Widen doorways or install swing-clear hinges

Climbing stairs

* Install handrails on both sides for support
* Install a stair glide
* Increase lighting at the top and bottom of stairway

Source: National Resource Center for Supportive Housing and Home Modification

***

What's your opinion? Leave your comments below or send a letter to the editor. To contact the writer, click the byline at the top of the story.

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Use your real name. You must register with your full first and last name before you can comment. (And don’t pretend you’re someone else.)
  • 2 Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually oriented language.
  • 3 Don’t threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
  • 4 Be truthful. Don't lie about anyone or anything. Don't post unsubstantiated allegations, rumors or gossip that could harm the reputation of a person, company or organization.
  • 5 Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 6 Stay on topic. Make sure your comments are about the story. Don’t insult each other.
  • 7 Tell us if the discussion is getting out of hand. Use the ‘Report’ link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 8 Share what you know, and ask about what you don't.
  • 9 Don’t be a troll.
  • 10 Don’t reveal personal information about other commenters. You may reveal your own personal information, but we advise you not to do so.
  • 11 We reserve the right, at our discretion, to monitor, delete or choose not to post any comment. This may include removing or monitoring posts that we believe violate the spirit or letter of these rules, or that we otherwise determine at our discretion needs to be monitored, not posted, or deleted.

Welcome to the discussion.

Are you doing all you can to help conserve water?

With severe drought conditions across large swatches of the west and pockets of the rest of the United States, many homeowners are looking for ways to conserve water on landscaping.

Posted: October 10, 2014
Comments (1)
more »

Loan Calculator

Your News

News for the community, by the community.

Featured Events

Mailing List

Subscribe to a mailing list to have daily news sent directly to your inbox.

  • Breaking News

    Would you like to receive breaking news alerts? Sign up now!

  • News Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily news headlines? Sign up now!

  • Sports Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily sports headlines? Sign up now!

Manage Your Lists