Thursday, August 3, 2017

"A Very Simple Change Can Make A Huge Difference"

Some updates to homes that help people age in place better can be relatively simple and inexpensive (depending on selections). In fact, there is one very simple change that homeowners can make to their own homes, that renters can make to their apartments, or that we as aging in place remodelers and handymen can make for our clients that will enhance the beauty, safety, comfort, and value of those dwellings.

Not only will the current occupants of the home or apartment feel better, but when the home is sold - even if no additional changes are made, it will be more desirable that it is right now.

This isn't an inexpensive change in total, but the individual parts of it are. It won't break the bank, especially if done a little at a time.

This change, which affects both the appearance and function of the home, is the door and drawer hardware. It also impacts the safety, comfort, and accessibility aspects of a home.

Changing all door handles or knobs to a single lever style will mean that anyone - from the smallest child to the oldest adult with or without grasping difficulties - can open, close, and control the doors in the homes. Lever handle are attractive as well and come in a variety of finishes and colors - to match, complement, or contrast with other colors in the home.

As for the door and drawer pulls for the kitchen, baths, laundry room, and anyplace else in the home that has cabinetry, go for a style that allows anyone's hand to fully engage the pull (not just fingertips and not just for someone that is strong enough to wrestle a drawer open).

With an easily accessible drawer (and door) pull, it dresses up the space (depending on the color, style, and finish selected), and reduces the risk of accident by someone hurting their hand. wrist, arm, elbow, or shoulder trying to open a drawer that is difficult. Guests and visitors will enjoy the easy access also. Just be careful that the edges are not sharp or that they don't protrude so as to catch someone's skin or clothing as they walk by.


There are many such simple changes that can be made in a home, but hardware is one that can make a visible difference and add to the usefulness of a home at the same time. This is something that renters can do to enhance their space. It personalizes their living area with something they have selected and adds tremendous function at the same time. People they invite into their dwelling can benefit from the easier to access hardware also. 

Contractors and handymen can complete these projects for people as part of a larger renovation or makeover, but there is nothing wrong with having the owners or renters do the work. It gets them started on home renovation that may to bigger projects after this - ones more suited to professional help. What people save in doing their own work can go toward larger, more comprehensive jobs later on.

Nevertheless, if this is the only important done in a home - and there's no reason it needs to be or even should be - and the fact that the owner or renter can do the work themselves, people are going to begin enjoying a safer, more comfortable living space. Doors and drawers are going to open easier and with less physical effort than before, there will be an updated look, and it may well suggest other improvements that can be made - more complete kitchen renovations, for instance.

When the occupant of the home or apartment makes the selection of hardware and installs it, they are going to feel better about their space and see how improvements can help. Calling us to help with more updates is the next step from here.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, CEAC, SHSS, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist-Master 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. Also, check out the "Aging & Accessibility" groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.