Aging-in-place renovations aren’t something that all seniors are ready to consider, but as a remodeling professional, you owe it to your clients to bring this up in the planning phase. Including aging-friendly features in a home when they’re optional gives a homeowner the freedom to make choices – rather than having decisions made in haste or by others. Here are some tips to help those who are (or aren’t) remodeling to age-in-place make the best decisions for the future. With your guidance, your senior clients will be able to make decisions that are beneficial now and well into their golden years.
Many adults choose to remodel their homes while still in their prime 40s and 50s. These active adults have every intention of staying in their newly-remodeled home, yet have an understandably difficult time anticipating the challenges that may arise as they age. As a remodeling contractor, educate all your customers on aging-friendly features that they can incorporate now into a remodel with relatively little expense and hassle. The time to install such features in a home is when it’s being remodeled, regardless of the age of the residents.
Many homeowners are familiar with common age-in-place features such as single-story floorplans and no-step entries. What they may not think about are things like wide doorframes to accommodate a wheelchair. Most standard doors come in widths ranging from 28 to 32 inches, but 36 inches is the minimum width for accessibility. Wider doors don’t have to be installed now, but if the opening is framed for that possibility, it can facilitate easy alterations later. Don’t forget about the exterior too. No senior wants to be saddled with the worries of exterior home maintenance; suggest that they invest in updates that reduce maintenance demands, such as engineered wood siding and easy-care trees, shrubs and perennial flowers.
Make sure your clients understand that aging-in-place renovations don’t have to mean ugly grab bars on the bathroom wall and non-slip tape on the floor. Many remodeling changes accommodate people of all ages and don’t stand out in a home as something for the elderly. An example of this type of universal design feature is a curbless walk-in shower with a bench that is elegant and functional for everyone – from grandparents to grandkids.
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