San Diego is an ideal environment for retirement. Warm weather, a wide assortment of outdoor activities and an emphasis on healthy living all play a part in this. For most people, staying in your home as you grown older is appealing; especially when you want your children and grandchildren to come to “grandma and grandpa’s” for the holidays. There are an assortment of health and mobility issues that may come along with age. The concept of aging in place and remodeling your home to this end can allow you to stay in your home much longer. Making your home more accessible, spacious and mobility-friendly will make any problems much easier to accommodate. Many things can be done in all areas of your home to make aging in place in your San Diego home possible.
The Outside of Your Home
The most obvious renovation is adding a wheelchair-accessible entrance. Even if you’re not using a wheelchair, you or a guest may find the idea of stairs extremely inconvenient. You can do this in the back entrance, or add the option to the front if there is no back. If you decide to keep the stairs, decreasing their height and/or adding lighting will help avoid any trips or falls.
Think about all the entrances your home has; the garage, the deck/patio, of which there may be more than one. It’s recommended that the doorways be at least 36” inches wide, in order to accommodate wheelchairs. You may want to consider a coded entry or lever-handle door, to make it easier to open and close.
Constant bending over and standing or holding onto groceries while trying to find your keys is difficult at most ages, but especially so when you get older. Adding a shelf or seat near the door to place packages for easy pick up will eliminate the hassle. If your entrance isn’t already covered, adding a canopy or other type of overhang will decrease the odds of slipping in the event of rain or snow.
Inside Your Home
The same aging in place remodeling ideas which apply to the outside of your home – accessibility – must also apply here. Fortunately, there are many options for you to consider in this regard:
- Bathroom – Walk-in shower with no steps. This will make it much easier to get in and out. Adding hand grips, placing no-slip flooring around the shower itself and installing a seat in the shower increases the safety of an everyday task. Those hand grips can even be designed to fit the matching decor of the entire room. If your home is multi-level, renovate a main floor bathroom to be full, if it isn’t already. This will make it easier to bathe even if you aren’t able to traverse a staircase.
Having a handicap-accessible toilet is crucial as well. For this, consider your – or the person who will be using it most – needs. Raising it may not be the best way to go depending on your height and abilities. You can purchase a seat extender from a home health store, and even add a bidet combination to improve hygiene.
- Kitchen – It’s not just having enough space, it’s the placement and utilization of that space to improve your kitchen. The height of sinks, dishwashers, cabinets and drawers should all be considered. You can even include roll-out shelving inside your cabinets to reduce the need for reaching. D-shaped handles on all drawers, rather than just knobs, makes them easier to open.
The sink can be vastly improved for use as well. Hands-free or lever-handles will make gripping and turning on and off the faucet much easier. Installing a shallow sink (6” or less) reduces reaching, and including a pull-out sprayer can accommodate users of all ages and abilities.
- Laundry Room – In many homes, cabinets and shelving for all detergents, sprays and sheets is placed above the washer and dryer. Even though you’ll want to do the exact opposite, you can still keep all those things out of sight while making them easy to reach. A long shelf for easy folding will also make every step of doing the laundry much easier.
Slip-resistant flooring that is textured or soft is important when carrying a lot of clothes. If your laundry room has a rug, you’ll want to tape it down so it doesn’t move or get rid of it. When purchasing new appliances, go for the ones with buttons as opposed to knobs. If the labels have large lettering, that’s even better. Obviously, an ironing board which folds up into the wall is a must.
- Bedroom – Getting in and out of bed is perhaps the most troublesome everyday activity for the elderly. Adjusting the height of the bed is the obvious change to make this easier. If additional assistance is necessary, safety handles or a simple step which can be folded underneath the bed frame can make for easy standing after laying, and vice versa.
For the closet, additional lighting and easy to reach shelving and hangers can be constructed to match your style and needs. Lighting is important as well; if you need more than what the ceiling lights provide, battery powered stick-up lights can be added to the wall or a dimmer switch can be installed to increase or decrease the brightness as you see fit.
A lot of the same philosophies – handles, space, shelving, and the proper height for each – can be applied in every room throughout the house. In addition to all of this, widening the halls and doorways will be necessary, in case someone has to use a wheelchair. To prepare for this, you may also want to leave space for the possibility of an elevator.
Despite all of the health concerns that come with aging, you want to retain an independent lifestyle no matter what; these renovation and remodel ideas will help you keep your own space that you’ve worked so hard to achieve and maintain for as long as you wish.
Kaminskiy Design & Remodeling keeps all of this in mind when planning and designing your San Diego aging in place remodel. We know you may not be renovating for just today, but for the many years to come. Let us put our experience and knowledge to work for you to create the aging in place remodel you need. Call 858.271.1005 to set up your design consultation today.