Don’t delay if you want to stay
By Amanda McCracken
According to Age Well Boulder County, by the year 2040, 26% of Boulder County’s population will be 60 years or older. A 2018 AARP survey says 77% of American adults 50 and older wish to age at home and stay in their communities, but only 46% anticipate being able to do so. Thoughtful remodeling can help bridge that gap and make it possible for more people to enjoy their golden years at home.
“One challenge as we age is acknowledging that we are, in fact, aging and need to plan for life forward,” says Kellie Hudson, owner of Hudson Construction and a certified aging-in-place specialist. “As experience has shown us, what we desire or need in our home changes over time. Looking at not only the areas of the home that pose potential barriers, but also asking how we want to enjoy our home and community is critical.”
You can invest in a skilled construction or design professional by visiting the National Association of Home Builders website and looking for someone who is a certified aging-in-place specialist (CAPS). If you’re not ready for an entire renovation, the following suggestions are easy adjustments you can make now to prepare for the future.
Floors & Doors
• Get rid of rugs; they’re a huge fall hazard.
• Replace knobs with levers to make it easier to open doors or turn on the shower or sink when your hand strength diminishes.
• Eliminate the tripping hazard of a step-over shower curb. It will also make it more accessible for rolling in, should you need a walker or wheelchair.
• Install ADA grab bars in the shower and next to the toilet to help prevent falls.
• High-seat toilets make it easier to transfer up and down from the seat. If a new toilet isn’t in your budget, consider a portable commode chair that rolls in and out and sits above an existing toilet.
• Install night-lights or motion-sensor lights in the bathroom entry and at the top and bottom of stairs, so you don’t have to search for light switches in the dark.
• Make sure light switches are paddle and not toggle types, which are harder to use when you lose hand strength.
• Exchange 60-watt incandescent bulbs for 100-watt LED bulbs. You’ll save electricity and see better. You can always install dimmers on those lights.
• Install handrails on both sides of a staircase to provide extra strength and balance support.
• Add nonslip skid strips to stairs to prevent slipping.