7 ways to improve your home for aging in place
Remodeling your home is a great way to change things up, make it more livable, and occupy your time. There are always new and exciting remodeling projects to explore no matter what age you are or the type of home you live in.
In case you’re thinking about remodeling your home, here are a few ideas you might want to consider.
1. Install Handrails to Reduce the Risk of Falling
No one likes to think about falling. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every eleven seconds, a senior citizen is treated in the E.R. for a fall. More shockingly, every nineteen minutes, a senior loses their life from injuries related to a fall. Thankfully, there’s a terrific solution to help reduce this risk.
Handrails are a great addition to any home occupied by senior citizens or those with mobility impairment. They are one of the simplest and cheapest remodeling projects only costing about $300 on average including installation and could end up preventing catastrophic injury to you and your family.
Home handrails that can support up to 500 pounds and are often placed in areas of the home such as the bathroom or on a staircase and can help prevent major accidents in the home during old age like a slip or fall.
2. Consider New Durable Siding
Siding tends to get old pretty quickly, especially if you just have some cheap vinyl siding lining the exterior of your home. One of the last things you’ll want to worry about when you’re older is having to manage the maintenance of the siding yourself (or paying a lot to have someone else do it for you). To make things easier for yourself in the long run you may want to look into investing in a siding option that is durable and doesn’t require constant upkeep and maintenance. Some of the most durable siding options out there are engineered wood siding and steel siding.
Natural wood siding can look great but often requires lots of maintenance, if you want the look of wood without the durability or upkeep requirements, you can opt for fiber cement siding with a natural wood grain look and feel. You can also pair this with some exterior window ideas to change up the whole look and color scheme of your home.
3. Re-Do Your Roof with Shingles That Will Last
Just like with your home’s siding you won’t want to have to worry about your home’s roof in the future when you’re older and can prevent this by investing in a durable and resistant roof now. Composite shingles are one of the best alternatives to asphalt shingles thanks to their durability and cost-effectiveness. While asphalt shingles have been a go-to solution thanks to their cheap cost, they have their fair share of downsides. You won’t want to go with asphalt shingles if you’re trying to look forward and invest in something that will last since even at their best, asphalt shingles only last about fifteen to twenty years.
For one, asphalt shingles don’t do well in inclement weather and you’ll want to ensure your home and you are safe if you plan to retire somewhere with a climate that has dangerous storms or weather. Asphalt shingles also absorb heat, causing your energy bill to spike in warm summer months. Investing in something like composite shingles may be more expensive at first but will save you money in the long run which can help cut down the cost of your home’s energy costs which would be highly beneficial when you’re older especially if you’re on a tight budget.
Composite shingles, on the other hand, are built to last. These shingles have a lifespan of around thirty to fifty years! They’re incredibly durable, lightweight, and can come in a variety of colors. Composite shingles have all these benefits because they’re made by combining several common roofing materials to create a powerhouse shingle material. Investing in composite shingles would be a wise decision if you want your roof to stand the test of time and not have to worry about maintenance or replacing it.
4. Install Solar Panels to Lower Your Energy Bills
If you do install a new roof, it’s a great time to think about solar panels. Solar panels allow you to harness the power of the sun for your home’s electricity. Rather than using traditional electricity, these panels absorb the U.V. rays of the sun to power your entire house. Solar panels are typically installed right on top of your roof, but there are also other options like ground-mounted solar panels.
Going with solar energy provides an array of benefits. However, the cost savings are probably the most exciting benefit for seniors on fixed incomes. Although panels do have an initial investment, on average, homeowners save anywhere from $10,000-$30,000 on electricity costs during the lifetime of their solar panels. Overall, homeowners will solar can expect average savings of approximately $1,408 every single year.
Additionally, some states offer additional rebates and incentives for making the switch to solar energy.
5. Turn Your Tub into a Walk-in Shower for Premium Safety and Luxury
A walk-in shower is another project that’s specially tailored to making life easier for those looking to age in place. The bathroom is one of the most dangerous areas for fall risks because of the slick floors and wet surfaces. In fact, as much as 80% of all falls in the home happen in the bathroom.
Getting in and out of the tub is one of the highest risk times, so a tub/shower combo can be dangerous. A walk-in shower with a non-slip floor is a lot safer for those with a harder time keeping their balance.
It’s also a luxury upgrade that looks amazing that will ultimately leave you much more satisfied with your shower situation. You could also pair it with some fogless shower glass for the ultimate safety upgrade.
6. Create a Backyard Oasis to Soak Up the Benefits of Nature
You’ve probably already heard, but spending time outside is great for your health. One study found that exposure to nature reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, high blood pressure, and premature death. Plus, other studies have shown that nature can decrease anxiety, depression, and stress. These health benefits can be great for anyone but it is especially important to pay careful attention to your health when you’re older.
All of these benefits are terrific reasons to spend some time remodeling your outdoor space. If you don’t have a porch or patio, consider adding one. You can even lookup how to install a pergola. If you have a green thumb, planting a garden is a superb way to create a beautiful oasis that will inspire you to continue to go outside for years to come. Beautifying your outdoor space will encourage you to go outside more when you’re older and reap all of the benefits that the great outdoors provide for you.
There are countless ideas for remodeling your backyard, but a porch and a garden are great places to start.
7. Upgrade Your Fixtures to Improve Ease of Use
As we get older, we begin to lose dexterity in our hands. This can make simple tasks like opening doors, turning off light switches, and adjusting the shower more challenging than they used to be. If you want a simple remodeling project that will improve the quality of your life and boost the appearance of your home, this is an excellent project for you.
Start by switching all the light switches to the rocker-panel design or consider installing motion-activated lights instead. Next, replace all the doorknobs with lever-style knobs instead of the ones that turn. Then, consider installing an automatic flusher on the toilet, and an easy-to-turn faucet in your shower.
Then, replace all the knobs on your cabinets and drawers that are difficult to grab or pull. While these modifications might seem silly now, as you get older, they can significantly improve your daily quality of life.
The great thing about fixtures is that there’s no shortage of different styles. You can change the entire look of your home by merely upgrading the fixtures.
Remodeling for a Better Aging in Place Experience
If you want to upgrade your home in a way that adds real functional value and style while making your home safer, you can’t go wrong with any of the ideas listed here. From new shingles and siding to a walk-in shower, handrails, and more, each one of these ideas would make for the perfect project to keep you busy this year, in case you’ve got some extra time on your hands.
It’s never a bad idea to improve the aesthetic appeal of your home while making it safer and more livable at the same time.
Matt Lee is the owner of the Innovative Building Materials blog and a content writer for the building materials industry. He is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that save money, improve energy efficiency, and increase property value.