Saturday, April 2, 2016

"Turning Our Back On Winter For Several Months"

Wintertime is all but over no matter where someone lives. It still might be cooler than we like it to be, but all signs point to spring and a change in how people use their homes. We have closed the book on the whole first quarter of the year, and it's on to spring and then summer before we need to think of winter again.

For at least the next six months, winter is not going to be a concern except for an occasional project that is done to make it easier for people to make it through the winter and into the spring. Winter is behind us - the temperatures are definitely getting warmer, the days are getting longer with the change to daylight savings time, and the transitional activities that we look forward to as marking the end to the winter have been completed (Daytona 500, spring training, spring break, and Easter). The Major League Baseball season is starting, and the Masters is just a few days away.

In the winter, people spend much of their time indoors, so it makes sense that we focus on remodeling and aging-in-place projects that will help people remain safe during the extended period of time that they are indoors - with the windows closed, the heat on, abbreviated daylight hours, and frequent inclement weather.

Remembering parts of the home that didn't serve people as well as they would have liked this winter will give us a starting point for completing projects over the spring and summer months - especially if they involve windows, siding, roofing, foundations, basements, chimneys, or other areas of the home where the home may need to be open to the outside air for a period of time.

Beyond that, this is the time of year to begin working on those projects which were outlined or planned by people last fall or over the winter. Maybe they simply ran out of time to complete them or have them started during good weather last year.

Nevertheless, people are going to be spending considerably more time outdoors for the next few months - whether they are still working or retired. This means gardening, sitting on the porch, grilling and cooking on the barbeque or outdoor kitchen, using the pool or spa, playing with children or grandchildren in the yard, and other warm weather outdoor activities. The indoors will be de-emphasized as activities - even watching TV - move outdoors.

As the activities move outside, this means that the outdoor space needs to evaluated for maintenance, safety, and potential upgrades to provide people with the comfort, convenience, and accessibility they and they guets expect and desire. In addition to purely outdoor activities and pursuits, there are areas of the home that support such activities, like a cabana bath to provide access to a bathroom from the pool area or yard or a sleeping porch for those hot nights when a cooler sleeping area (or a place for afternoon and weekend naps) is desired.

As we turn our back on winter, we certainly won't have any shortage of activities to focus on for ourselves and our aging-in-place clients. In fact, getting it all done before it's time to move back inside in six months or so will be a big challenge.

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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.