Have you heard the term “aging-in-place”? I’ll bet that you have, it’s everywhere these days! The term relates to people who are feeling uncomfortable in their homes because of age or disability. Rather than move away from a home they love, they can remodel to stay and live at ease. Aging in place remodeling has been especially popular in this slow economy. A remodeler does not have to sacrifice style for function, either. These products have many designs with style in mind. Plain or medical looking accessories are a thing of the past, and our specialists can find designs to match your preferred style.
There’s no need to worry if you aren’t sure about what you need – three of our interior designers, Leslie Efraimson, Cathy Pitts, and Jill McGlaughlin, have completed CAPS (Certified Aging In Place Specialist) training. These talented specialists will provide solutions to any aging in place questions! We have summarized some of the easiest and most helpful updates for a home that needs a bit more accessibility.
The bathroom is one of the main areas of discontent for the aging in place specialist. They must consider access, mobility, and ease of use above all else.
Bath tubs can be hard to get in and out of, so a walk in shower is the best idea. The best type of shower to install is a “no curb” or “no threshold” shower, these types of showers have nothing to step over when getting in and out, and a wheelchair can roll in without issue. Hand-held shower heads, benches and seats are also a great thing to have in the shower, to keep everything comfortable and easy. Another helpful accessory is the “grab bar”. Grab bars are placed on the wall at the entry to the shower, inside of the shower, at the toilet and anywhere else someone may need help getting up.
TIP: We stress that putting too much weight on a towel bar or other bathroom staple can cause a lot of trouble, including holes in your wall (when it rips out) and potential injury. Grab bars are specifically designed and installed to hold weight.
There are also bathroom vanities specifically designed for wheelchair bound people, with a “wheel under” sink area. Changes like this can really take the stress and worry away!
In summary, the important changes to be made in the bathroom are:
- Install a no-step shower
- Install a seat in the shower
- Use grab bars (not the towel bar!)
- Install a “wheel-under” vanity
All Around The House
The bathroom isn’t the only trouble spot for aging in place specialists. There are many more changes to be made throughout the house. An interesting idea for the visually impaired (in any room) is to create color contrast in the design to display changes in the floor, on steps, or the edge of a counter top.
For the kitchen
- Raise counter top height for less bending down
- Raise dishwasher for easy loading and unloading (pictured above)
- Use roll out trays for easier access
- Install pull down shelf systems
- Touch faucets or one handle faucet to lessen stress on wrists (pictured right)
- Doors that open outward
- Widening doorways to 36” for wheel chair access
- Install non-slip flooring
- Visual indicators
- Lower switches, outlets, mirrors, etc., so wheelchair bound people can use them!
There are many more options for someone looking to make their house more comfortable as they grow older. If this has been something you have been thinking about, whether it is for yourself, a family member, or friend, the specialists at Classic Kitchen & Bath are ready, willing, and able to help you plan for the future and making that process as easy as possible.
For more information and ideas, call the showroom at 540-437-1990, or visit us at 1930 Deyerle Avenue in Harrisonburg, VA. We’d love to hear from you! Visit our Facebook page!