Alexander Enterprises Construction & Development, Inc. has been building homes and remodeling with the aging in place concept in mind before it was “a thing”. If, when building a new home, we can anticipate what the needs might be years down the road, then we can help our clients stay in their homes longer and minimize the expense of retrofitting things. The cost of long-term care is just one component to the popularity of the concept. The bigger picture is that when people are in their own homes, they are happier. When a person starts to lose control of their lives in areas such as driving, health issues and/or mobility, it is important for the things that can stay the same, to stay the same. If we can design homes where one can bathe safely, cook safely and to do the things they love safely in the comfort of their own homes, they will thrive.
BATHROOMS & Aging in Place
Bathrooms are the scariest places in a house and they are a key component in determining whether a person can remain independent in their home. Grab bars are essential- by the toilet, in the shower and anywhere else where one might need help or stability when they navigate a wet surface or go from a sitting to standing position. The old hospital looking grab bars are a thing of the past. Almost every plumbing manufacture makes beautiful decorative bars in all kinds of finishes.
Tubs and Showers: Tubs are great but when safety is a concern, it’s best to avoid them. A nice walk in/roll in curb-less shower with non-slip flooring and grab bars is the safest way to bathe. Make sure the opening is a min. 36″ wide. My Mama moved into our guest house when Dad passed away and we were very concerned with the shower situation. We remodeled it (shown below) and Mom said that she would not be able to be independent without the changes we made. She can even take her walker into the shower, if necessary, but the grab bars have made that unnecessary. In addition, something we do regardless of the age of our clients, is to make the faucet controls accessible by reaching in by the entry point, not where one has to walk into the shower to turn on the controls.
Fixtures & Aging in Place:
Toilets should be comfort height with soft close lids. And as a side note that I can’t resist; I am a clean freak and the best thing ever are the toilets with the all smooth sides…no yucky stuff in those nooks and crannies! Before those were being made in the states, we used Caroma because they were the only ones we could find. Now there are many to choose from.
Fixtures are very important. Toilet paper holders should be the kind where the paper can slide off and on. Faucets should minimize twisting motions, which are difficult when one gets older. Lever faucets work well and using a single lever faucet makes things easier.
To follow: Part 2 will focus on cabinets, electrical and flooring. Feel free to share your comments and ideas with me!