In my initial consultation, I always ask my older clients whether they have trouble accessing any part of their house. Most people desire to live in their homes as long as possible as they age. There is a recognition, however, that the home can become a dangerous environment as we age. People with impaired balance may have trouble getting in and out of a bathtub. There are a whole host of joint conditions, from arthritis to Sjogren’s syndrome, that can make staircases painful to navigate. Sunken rooms are a hazard to anyone who is not confident in maneuvering stairs. I recently spoke with a renovation expert who relayed how she had a client who had not been into her living room for over a decade because the client was scared to make the small step down into the sunken living room.
Because of the strong desire we have to stay in a home, the National Association of Home Builders Remodelers now offers a designation of Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS). The goal of a CAPS home remodeler is to assess “clients’ needs and integrat[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][e] myriad considerations into unified, aesthetically pleasing, functional solutions.” http://bit.ly/XokrFJ. In other words, regardless of whatever modifications are needed, the home should continue to look like a home and not like a glorified hospital room.
When I think of renovating a home to accommodate an aging client, I think about more common the physical modifications that can be made to a house. For example, a client may need to add ramps to allow accessibility to the house, grab bars in the bathroom to help with stability, or wider doorways to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers. One aspect I had not considered is how a change in lighting can assist older eyes.
I just came across an article about kitchen lighting for “older eyes” on Houzz.com. The article makes some great suggestions as to how to increase lighting in dark areas and reduce glare where it becomes a problem. The kitchens are beautiful. My eyes aren’t quite “older eyes” yet, and I still am thinking about incorporating some of these ideas into my own kitchen.