3 Tips for Aging in Place Home Remodeling

May 31, 2017

3 Tips for Aging in Place Home Remodeling

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Whether you are moving in with your elderly parents or they’re moving in with you, chances are the house you are planning to live in is not designed for accessibility when it comes to seniors with disabilities. Are your parents restrained to a wheelchair? Do they suffer from an illness that makes them more likely to fall? How often are you going to be home and what changes have you already made in consideration of their safety? If you are considering aging in place home remodeling and struggling with where to start, you are not alone.

In fact, when looking at the three most important accessibility features that allow people to move safely around their living spaces, the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard found in a 2016 report that only 4 percent of the U.S. housing stock has all three features. These three senior accessibility features include entrances without steps, single-floor living, and wide hallways and doorways that accommodate wheelchairs. If you add two more aging in place home remodeling features – doors with lever handles and light switches and electrical outlets that can be reached from a wheelchair, the housing stock proportion drops to 1 percent. With numbers as low as these, it’s no wonder many people must face aging in place home remodeling. So, what do you need to know about aging in place home remodeling?

Three Tips for Aging in Place Home Remodeling

Before you start remodeling your home you will have to consider exactly what construction needs to happen, who is going to do the aging in place renovations and how much the project will cost you. Also, consider the pros and cons of living with your parents and setting boundaries as you join households.

1.     Ideas for renovating

First of all, consider exactly what type of renovations you will need to make in order to make the home more accessible and safe for your loved one.

For example, does the home have multiple levels, or is it possible to keep the elderly’s living quarters to the first floor? It is easier to have a single floor living situation, but if that’s not possible you may have to install an elevator or wheelchair lift. Also, if there is a wheelchair involved, having at least one entrance to the home that has no steps will make life much easier. Wheelchairs may also require widening doors and hallways and installing a walk-in shower to replace a bathtub.

2.     Certified Aging in Place Specialists

The second thing to consider when remodeling a home to accommodate seniors is that there are contractors available that are specifically trained to do aging in place home remodeling. They are known as Certified Aging in Place Specialist, or CAPS. CAPS are certified after a three-day course that is available through the National Association of Homebuilders.

About 3,500 CAPS graduate across the country, and people who work in a variety of professions are studying up on aging in place home remodeling such as builders, remodelers, occupational therapists, and interior designers.

If you are looking to make changes to a home so that your elderly parents can age in place, consider finding someone to help you who is a Certified Aging in Place Specialist. This way you know that you are in good hands because sometimes the renovations required to accommodate the elderly are no easy task and instead take a lot of time and effort.

3.     Remodeling costs 

One of the most important things you should consider about aging in place home remodeling is that it is not going to be a cheap project. When you think about the type of changes you may need to make to the home – bathroom grab bars, higher toilets, curbless showers or widened doorways – some of the additions have a pretty hefty price tag.

On average, CAP remodelers can install two grab bars for about $200 to $300, but replacing a bathtub with a stand-up shower could cost you between $8,000 to $10,000. So, before getting halfway into a project and realizing the price tag, do your research!

However, there are few ways to get government help with the expense of aging in place home remodeling. For example, some states do reimburse homeowners through tax credits, so you should look into options like this in your state. However, for the most part, remodeling your home to accommodate your loved one mostly remains a private investment. Despite the high cost and all of the things you need to consider the finished renovations will give you and your parents peace of mind and a place to age comfortably for years to come.

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