How to adapt your home for aging family members and visitors
Submitted by Mike Foti, president of Columbus Glass Block, Clear Choice Window Door, Bath Doctor and Columbus Design and Remodeling
Do you have a parent, relative or friend who is having a hard time getting around your home due to mobility, vision or health challenges? These modification and remodeling tips may help make your home visitable, yet stylish for people of all abilities.
- Widen inside doors. Fully accessible design is good design for everyone. Get new interior doors that are 32 to 36 inches wide.
- Get decorative kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanity pulls with C- and D-shaped designs. These are contemporary and easier to use.
- Add modern lights for specific tasks and general lighting. Increased lighting can be a big help for those people with vision challenges.
- Install stylish grab bars. Use these bars in transition areas where falls are most likely to occur. Using a handrail in a bathroom can actually save someone’s life.
- Repaint rooms. A fresh coat of paint and contrasting colors between rooms add style and help those with visual impairments.
- Replace double hung windows with casement – crank to open – windows. Casement windows are easier to reach, operate and let in more fresh air.
- Add comfort height toilets. These toilets can be easier for aging parents to use and more comfortable for everyone in the house.
- Add a zero-step entry. Regrade your front entrance to eliminate steps and make it easy for entrance for those with mobility challenge. It will also be easier when bringing in a young child in a stroller or hauling the groceries in from the car.
- Remodel your kitchen. So much time is spent in the kitchen, but it can be a hazardous place. Create a more accessible design for your kitchen with features like pull-out shelves, counters at different heights and smooth induction cooktops.
- Remodel your bathroom. Bathrooms and bathtubs are wet, slippery and dangerous places. Converting a tub into a walk-in shower, adding a roll-under sink, installing new plumbing valves and fixtures and adding a shower seat are all ways to increase safety.
- Consider a room addition or an in-law suite. This is the most expensive idea, but the additional square footage can add comfort, privacy and increase the future resale value.
- Call in a universal design remodeling expert and/or occupational therapist to help you through the remodel and design process.
Foti is president of Cleveland Design and Remodeling, Columbus Design and Remodeling and the Bath Doctor of Cincinnati and Dayton.
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