Aging in Place, Interior Design and Decorating, Senior Safety

Institutional and Aging in Place Are Not the Same

Aging in place is making the news lately. Remodelers, builders and homeowners are beginning to take notice of the need to prepare our home for ease of living when we reach our later years. Not every home improvement for our future living arrangements need look like an institution. In fact, institutional doesn’t have to even enter the picture.

The adaptable home for someone who wants to age in place is one that is comfortable, safe, and easy to take care of. The bathroom, kitchen and living areas should be the main focal areas when thinking about remodeling your home for your later years.

Yes, blocking in the walls for a later addition of grab bars in the bathroom is a very good idea. Choosing a comfort height toilet is a very good choice, even if you are not older. A comfort height toilet is just plain easier to use. Think about investing in a walk-in shower with a low curb. Allow for open space under the sink so that a wheel chair can get in if it became necessary. Are these institutional? Heavens, no, just forward thinking.

Think about installing flooring that is slip resistant. I highly recommend laminates and engineered wood. You get the best of both worlds in both low maintenance and safety. Again, this is not institutional in feel, but pro-active for an active retirement.

Install lighting that is dimmable. The lighting is adaptable as needed and adjustable. The lighting is not institutional but can be tailored to the needs of the young and the old(er).

Prepare for the future by planning now. Your home does not (should not) have to feel like an institution when planning for your future at home. Consider design that is comfortable, safe and requires low maintenance. You will benefit not only in the future but now too.

Written by Alesha E. Churba, a Professional Technical Educator and Program Coordinator at Idaho State University.  She is a passionate Aging in Place Specialist writing, speaking & sharing safety and comfort ideas for the home.


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