What is becoming increasingly more common conversation with our clients is the topic of “aging-in-place”. How can we prepare today to comfortably remain in our home or residence and how can our spaces be optimized for later years?
In addition to the many wonderful services offered by our top notch assisted living residences, you may have noticed an increase in the number of personalized businesses popping up. These emerging businesses offer everything from in-home personal support workers, technology apps that manage and remind us of important dates and routines, online grocery orders, delivery meal services, handyman-on-call services and in-home cleaning to name a few. All of these services lend well to staying in the comfort of your own home, whilst minimizing risks associated with nutrition, medication, and home maintenance. Technology and innovative services will make it easier for adult children to help set their parents up for success even if they don’t live nearby.
In addition to the service side of our aging needs, however, we should also look at preparing our physical environments for the future. It is impossible to know what lies ahead in terms of health and future physical needs, but a few common changes we all face can be a part of our preparations today when we buy that final property.
Whether you are selling your family home and looking for a smaller home to “rightsize” into for yourself or for a senior parent, there are some key elements to address:
Our thermal comfort needs change as we age.
Add or upgrade existing insulation and windows in your right-sized home to ensure you are comfortable later on.
Use one consistent type of flooring throughout.
Our depth perception changes in our senior years and the transition from wood to tile or carpet, for example, can be a trip hazard for a senior even though it is level. Area rugs are ok when used under furniture.
Plan to paint!
As we age, our vision weakens. Glare can be a problem for the elderly (think sunlight in a white room) as can distinguishing between lighter colours. Opt for deeper yellows, golds, reds and greens to absorb some light and to make room transitions clear.
Add grab bars to bathrooms and change all door and cabinet handles to comfort grip, easy-to-open handles. If you are updating the kitchen, opt for all drawers instead of lower cabinet doors where bending and reaching in may become difficult.
Consider future mobility challenges.
Ensure the home allows for a main floor bedroom and bathroom, flat transitions between all rooms, less furniture to bump into, and front door / back door ramps.
plant motifs foster a continued connection to nature which in turn promotes a greater sense of health, happiness and wellbeing.
If you’re interested in this topic, Sarah has made a video about downsizing that you’ll definitely enjoy as well!