Aging in Place for Boomers in Maryland and Washington, DC
The long-awaited bliss of retirement is just around the corner! After years of hard work and scrimping and saving your coins, why would you want to go through the hassle of re-entering the real estate market?
Your house is more than just a building: it’s your home, your headquarters, your safe space. Beyond the bother of selling one home to buy another, you’ve grown accustomed to your bedroom, backyard, neighbors, local businesses, and the library. So why move? You deserve a home you can age into comfortably and independently.
According to a survey by The United States of Aging, nine in 10 seniors say they want to keep living in their current homes for at least another decade. Fortunately, it’s easy to remodel your home to make it safe and livable, even as you age.
Living Comfortably as You Age
The number one cause of at-home injury to seniors is, of course, falls. As we age, our bones become more brittle, our eyesight less keen, and our balance less stable. Put these factors together, and you have a perfect storm for injury, ranging from mild to severe or even fatal.
No one likes to feel like they’re becoming fragile and dependent. That’s why making a few minimally invasive adjustments to your residence is a much more favorable option than looking for a new home.
Let’s start in the bathroom. You might as well call the bathroom ‘the danger zone’ because slick surfaces combined with water make for a treacherous pairing. Not to worry, though. A few easy additions can make your bathroom secure and slip-free.
The simplest of these is to lay down non-slip mats on the floor, especially around the bath or shower, where water accumulates. Be sure to find something pleasant to the touch and absorbent on top, but it also has a grippy, rubberized bottom that prevents it from sliding around. Another solution is to add a waterproof chair in the shower, as hot water can sometimes cause lightheadedness, and subsequently, falls.
For something a bit extra that’s still minimally invasive, why not try a grab bar in the bath or shower? Grab bars provide excellent support in the event of slips or muscle weakness and is a good stabilizing aid. Paired with a detachable handheld showerhead, you’ll have the option of sitting or standing as you wash up.
The most invasive remodel would be to add a walk-in tub to your bathroom. A walk-in tub has high sides, a hinged door, and a seat, making it perfect for folks who can’t step too high or have poor balance. Plus, it’s incredibly luxurious, and you won’t crick your neck trying to recline.
You might not think about lighting as an essential feature for aging-in-place, but it’s actually pretty crucial. As we get older, our eyes take longer to adjust to different light intensities. We’re prone to optical floaters, sensitive to glare, and can’t see quite as well as we used to in the dark.
So how can you combat that at home? First, start by keeping light levels relatively consistent between rooms, especially in places with no natural light. This will help you avoid being blinded by a bright flash as you flick the switch. Next, ensure that all rooms have plenty of ambient light to keep everything illuminated in an overall wash. Add extra light where needed with task lighting; this is best installed within arm’s reach, so you don’t have to risk injury when you’re changing bulbs.
Another handy tip: install lighted switch plates, as they will help you find the light switch the first time without groping around in the dark. Night lights are also useful, especially if you take regular trips to the bathroom through the night.
Want an excellent way to avoid falls? Eliminate tripping hazards! These come in the form of turned-up carpet corners, transition strips, furniture, clutter, or any obstacles that may block your path.
Another big one is the stairs. Of course, you probably can’t get rid of the stairs, but depending on your mobility level, you may elect to install a ramp or even a stairlift if you struggle mounting the steps.
Not only is it possible to age-in-place, but it’s also what many boomers prefer. A qualified design and build team like Winthorpe can help adjust your home to your specific needs. If you’re ready to make a change and embrace your independence at home, we are ready to lend a hand. Connect with us today, and let’s take the first step together.