As we age, most of us like to think that we are still young at heart or mind. Of course, many of us feel as though we may still be quite a bit younger even though our bodies may likely deceive us. The reality is that we are all getting older. In fact, the older we get, the faster time seems to go by. These days more American homeowners are opting to age in place in their homes, as opposed to downsize to condo living or even assisted living facilities. In addition, the recent pandemic as well as the downturn in the economy has also increased the prevalence of multi-generational households. Regardless, it is always important to consider how to prepare your home as you and your family get older. We share a few helpful tips to consider below.
Home preparation tips for aging in place
Whether you have elderly parents moving in or are preparing for your future to age in place in your home, significant consideration should be given to your future accessibility needs. Here are a few things to consider:
- Install an elevator (if applicable): With 2-story homes being quite popular throughout South Florida, it is important to consider the challenges that stairways may provide as you get older. If you have a 2-story home and are planning to age in place, you may want to strongly consider installing an elevator (if feasible). If not, a single-story home may be a better option.
- Install a walk-in shower: While stand-up showers are quite popular these days, it is quite possible that many older homes will still have bathtubs. The number one cause of injuries in the elderly is falls. Combine a step-up for a bathtub with a wet surface and you have a recipe for disaster. It is highly recommended to convert these showers to walk-in showers where any steps up or down are eliminated or minimized.
- Install grab rails/bars where appropriate: As mentioned above, falls are the number one culprit when it comes to falls for the elderly. With this said, it is critical to install grab rails in all appropriate areas such as bathrooms, showers, and even near the bed or steps. As a reminder, it is important to always install stainless steel grab rails to avoid unwanted corrosion.
- Ensure adequate lighting is present throughout the home: Consistent with the goal of reducing the risk of falls and injuries, it is extremely important to ensure that there is adequate lighting throughout the home. Of course, energy-efficient LED lighting options are always preferred.
- Minimize risk with your flooring: Although carpet flooring is not as popular as it once was, it does allow for a more forgiving surface in the event of falls. For homeowners that prefer not to have carpeting, area rugs may help with this as long as they do not create tripping hazards. Regardless of your flooring type, it is best to be cognizant of any transitions or steps in your flooring. Of course, the less amount of transitions or steps in the home, the better.
Although aging can be a difficult topic to think about or discuss, it is inevitable for all of us. Just as when planning to buy a home, having a thorough plan and executing on it is critical. These same rules apply when thinking about preparing your home for your later years.
Are you looking to buy or sell real estate in South Florida? We can help! Contact Natasha at Live South Florida Realty, Inc. today! Also, be sure to download our free Florida Home Search app for your smartphone or tablet.