Aging in place is the ideal for most people. To do so often requires modifications to your home if not significant remodeling. But is it practical in your situation? Are you starting to feel like you have too much square footage in your home? Too many steps to get in and out? Too much of a yard to keep up with? If you are getting stressed just thinking about these questions, it may be time to start planning for the future.
If you enjoy lawn work and gardening or don’t mind paying others for the upkeep, a sprawling yard can be fine for aging in place. But if your home has a lot of steps, inside and out, that might become a burden. If bedrooms are a flight of stairs away from the kitchen and main living area, it might be time to make some modifications to your home.
As your interests and abilities change over time, it’s important to plan for the future. The good news is that there are a number of things you can do to make your home beautiful, while also making it simpler to live in now, and ready for aging in place later.
Especially if you have put down roots, aging in place is a preference for many. What factors should you consider in making this big decision?
Is staying close to friends and the neighborhood important? Or are you fairly new to the area, or have you watched as family and neighbors moved away leaving you with fewer ties to your home? You drive through Virginia and Maryland, noticing 55+ communities popping up everywhere. Is that idea attractive? Or maybe you just want to downsize into a condo to eliminate all the exterior home and yard maintenance. You may prefer a living situation where you can walk to shops or to a park. Evaluate your lifestyle. Aging in place might make the most sense, or moving on to a different living arrangement might be the better choice.
If you are living in a ranch-style home, your decision gets easier. You already have mostly first-floor living, and maybe an office, home theater, or laundry room downstairs in the basement. A home situated on a steep hill means thinking through a landscaping and exterior design plan that limits or eliminates steps.
A two-story home presents numerous challenges to aging in place, where the goal is single-floor living. Evaluate whether modifications to your current home will be worthwhile, or if finding a new home would be preferable.
This might include exterior ramps or planning to add a stair lift between the first and second floors. Most do not find these options ideal, but they would allow for the extended independence that is the goal of aging in place.
There are so many factors in making a decision that is right for you. Understanding your options and weighing them carefully is a great start.
Now you’ve decided that aging in place is the way to go, and you are staying put. Excellent! What are the best ways to modify your home to make aging in place possible?
The goal is to have all or most of your living done on one level. You want your remodeling plans to identify opportunities to modify or repurpose existing spaces and create new pathways to rooms in different areas of your home. Here are five ways you might consider to meet those goals.
If you don’t want other people pressuring you or making decisions on where to live on your behalf, you’ll want to start planning sooner rather than later.
This may strike you as funny, but a good time to begin thinking about this is when your AARP card arrives in the mail. Somewhere between ages 55 and 65 is a great time to start planning.
How do you begin making these plans? By finding a trusted advisor. Look for a design-build firm with a long track record of serving communities in the Washington DC area. You’ll want to work with a company with experience in designing and building for aging in place, who will help you develop a plan to remodel in stages or all at once.
To learn more about remodeling to age in place and the design-build process, download our eBook titled "Homeowner's Remodeling Guide To Age In Place With Style, Comfort And Safety" to get an in-depth understanding. If you are considering a home renovation, please feel free to schedule a home renovation discovery session with Gilday today.