Six months after my dad passed away my mother fell and broke her hip. She was 74 and her health was getting worse already. My husband and I were faced with a serious decision: find a assisted living facility nearby or move her in with us. We live in a fairly small town in North Carolina, so there were not a lot of choices for the care she needed in our area. The nearest facility we would even consider was an hour away. So, in she came.
Our house was not really laid out in a way that would make it easy for her to be comfortable. We knew (hoped) that after her recovery she would be more mobile, but the spare room was too far away from the bathroom and common areas of the house. We didn’t know anything about what types of things we could do to make it easier on her or easier on us. So, we started asking around and got in contact with a contractor nearby that specialized in renovating homes for the elderly.* We had no idea what we were about to get in to.
He came out to talk to us about what could be done to the house. He really knew his stuff! Our minds were swimming with all of the information he gave us. Everything he said made sense. Of course, all we could think of was, “How are we going to pay for this?” Remodeling isn’t cheap. He gave us his card and left after about an hour.
After some deliberation between us, we verbally agreed on what we already knew: we were going to have to do it. So, we called the contractor back, gave him a list of what we thought we wanted to do and asked him to give us a quote for that and anything else he thought we probably ought to do. He came back with a quote a few days later, we suffered sticker shock, then got over it and made the arrangements for an equity loan to pay for the construction.
Some of the things we had done were widening the hallway, installing a raised toilet and grab bars in the bathroom, grab bars in hallway, new cabinets and shelves in the kitchen and her room, a wider front door and walkway from the driveway and some new furniture. We actually revisited the bathroom after the remodeling was done to add a walk-in tub for her with a seat.
We were really impressed with the work he did! It took longer than we thought it would, but it usually does, I guess. Having him there to explain our options and helping us get the things we needed for her was a lifesaver. If you are ever in the situation we were in, I highly recommend talking to someone like him.
~ Katherinn, OH
*Editors Note: Training and certification in meeting the needs of those aging in place is available through the National Association of Home Builders Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) program. This training is focuses on preparing people on meeting the unique needs of those aging in place.