Tuesday, February 2, 2016

"Aging-In-Place Needn't Be Elaborate"

Remodeling can be as simple or as complex as you choose to make it. It can be as simple as a fresh coast of paint, new curtains or blinds, a new piece of furniture, new chair rail or door trim, a new faceplate on light switches, a new faucet, or so many other simple-to-do, relatively inexpensive changes, upgrades, and updates. Also, many of these types of simple repairs or modifications can be done by the homeowner or renter, or a neighbor or relative. Handymen can help also. They don't need to cost very much, and they don't need to take a lot of time to complete them.

Remodeling for aging-in-place can be new doorways, new flooring, new appliances (especially with control on or at the front), a bathroom makeover, better lighting, a digital thermostat, or all of them. It can be wider passageways and better access to and through doorways. It can be more accessible and easier to use drawer and door hardware. Again, some of this is relatively easy to do and can be done by the occupant, while others are far more major and complex and will require the services or one or more contractors.

While taking out a bathtub and replacing it with a low curb or zero threshold shower, or replacing tired and worn out kitchen cabinets and countertops with fresh ones, or widening the hallway by moving the walls outward will make a huge and noticeable difference, renovation projects don't need to be so extensive to still make a big difference in the living environment and the way people use and relate to their space.

New flooring in just one room can be a great start. Then you can do another room, and then another. Solar powered outdoor lighting at the entrance or along the entry stairs can make a big improvement and not take that long to install. A tubular skylight can brighten a space tremendously and add more light than a fixture.

The fun aspect of remodeling is that is not an all-or-nothing proposition. Remodeling can be an ongoing effort where a little bit is undertaken on a fairly constant basis. Essentially something is always going on as one project gets near completion and the next one gets ready to get started. It can be as simple a paint, furnishings, wall treatments, window coverings, lighting, or flooring. It can be as complex as removing or relocating walls to reconfigure space or building an addition.

Remodeling - especially renovations for aging-in-place - can be extensive, but they don't necessarily need to be. They can be undertaken one item, one room, or one project at a time. 


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Steve HoffackerCAPS, MCSP, MIRM, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555.