Home remodeling plays a key role for anyone wanting to age in place. The reason is that homes generally are not generally built to be easily accessible, incorporate personal safety features or was Universal Design incorporated into the home to provide for these things. Sometimes called accessible remodeling, aging in place remodeling lets a person create the house they need to grow old in.
Home remodeling can help some of the physical aspects of your home that you will need to change. However, there are plenty of ways to make your home more safe and comfortable.
Many times the initial home remodeling that people have done is in the bathroom. Items such as grab bars, walk-in tubs, hand rails or ramps, non-slip flooring and others are all very important in addressing home safety.
Although there are many items you could focus on, safety issues are the best way to get started. Not just in the bathroom, either.
Home remodeling is not all or nothing
Choosing which home remodeling projects to have don can be tough. As mentioned above, home safety should be a primary concern. Many people feel overwhelmed when thinking about remodeling their home with all of the choices they are presented. It is your home and your needs that are being addressed. A licensed and trained professional can provide a home assessment and a list of recommended changes to a home. They can also advise which ones will provide most for safety.
Accessibility is key
One important part of home remodeling for people who are older is accessibility. It means exactly what it sounds like: you can get into and out of your home, move throughout it and get to everything you need for daily life.
What we’re talking about here is not about handicap access, such as ramps or special equipment to adapt your home for someone with specific physical limitations. Rather, it is about adapting your home to make it easier to live in.
Through the use of Universal Design, accessible design, and with the help of a professional Remodeler or Builder who has the knowledge and experience creating accessible homes, you can have a home that is not only beautiful, but helps create a more enjoyable lifestyle at home.
Safety is the #1 goal
Keeping yourself safe from falls or other accidents at home is the primary goal of aging in place remodeling. It isn’t the only goal, just the most important one. The reason being is that if you fall at home, there is a very good chance you will injure yourself. Every year, millions of people over age 65 fall in their homes. To be specific, 1/3 of them do.
- Once you fall, your chance of falling again doubles.
- 95% of falls cause hip fractures in this age group
- Approximately every 15 seconds, an older person goes to the E.R. due to a fall
- 53% of these folks will fall again within 6 months
- 40% of all nursing home admissions are related to falls
- 1 out of 5 patients who fall and have hip fractures will die within one year
- Fall injuries are among the 20 most expensive medical conditions
- The average hospital cost for a fall injury is over $30,000
The true cost of not preparing your home
Those last few statistics about falls put the importance of home safety (which can be improved through home remodeling) into perspective.
The reality is, if you fall, you will most likely have to make some modifications to your home. The sad fact is in many cases, older people who fall don’t always get to go back home; 40% go to a nursing home or even some type of assisted living.
If you are one of the people who didn’t get to go home after a fall, you’d still be responsible for the hospital costs, as well as the thousands of dollars a month it costs to live in a facility like we mentioned.
In 2016, a semi-private room in a nursing home ran $225 daily, or $82,125 per year. For assisted living, the average monthly cost is $3,628, which is $43,536 per year. Those costs continue until you go home or you pass away.
So you can see, the true cost of not preparing your home … of choosing not to remodel it and get your home lifestyle ready … can end up costing you hundreds of thousands more in the long run.
There are many home remodeling contractors, builders and home maintenance businesses in nearly every city. It is difficult to know who to call. But, when you do start interviewing contractors, be sure to ask what experience they have with accessibility projects for aging in place, ask to see their licenses and insurance, and to speak to previous customers. Also, you should call to verify each of those.
There are a growing number of contractors that have earned the Certified Aging in Place Specialist designation from the National Association of Home Builders. This by no means should infer that they have the experience to do the work you need done. But, it does signify a commitment to learning more about these types of projects.