Tuesday, December 5, 2017

"This Time Of Year Is Perfect For Identifying Improvements To Make"

Both in our own homes, and in those of our clients - current and would-be ones - this is the perfect time of year to begin formulating ideas for what needs to be done after the first of the year to get ready for a new year that affords more access, storage, comfort, illumination, safety, and convenience within the dwelling.

We are spending more hours inside now than in warmer months so we get to see and experience what goes on in the home more than at other times of the year. Also, we are putting up holiday decorations, baking, preparing to receive family and friends, and entertaining.

As we are getting our homes ready to celebrate the holidays and receive guests, we may notice so deficiencies that we hadn't seen previously or that we knew about but never addressed.

To make our homes even better as we age in place and remain in them long-term, we want to make sure they are providing as much enjoyment for us as possible and that we have the ability to be safe from injury within them. Thus, we need to take stock of what we are observing and use this as a plan for making improvements in the new year. Some items are going to be easy to fix - such as eliminating throw rugs or replacing outmoded, inefficient incandescent or CFL bulbs with LEDs. Others are going to take some construction and require more planning - redoing the kitchen, providing more or different closet or pantry space, or making the bathroom more accessible and safer.

It's not just our homes that we are considering here, although it's hard to recommend to others that they make improvements if we are living with less than ideal situations ourselves. By starting at home, we gain the insight and expertise to be able to go into our clients' homes and help them observe things that can be changed to improve their quality of life - some quite simple, easy and inexpensive, and others more complicated with a larger budget.

There are many items in the home that can and should be improved - not necessarily at a large expense - that we may have overlooked because we have gotten used to using them the way they are.

Areas that come to mind that may not have risen to the top of the "to do list" until we really begin to focus on them are ones such as windows that are too small, poorly insulated, or hard to open. Maybe the hard to open aspect has only recently become an issue. They are flooring issues also such as uneven transitions between rooms or from one flooring product to another. Maybe some of the flooring is not as solid as it needs to be. We may need more lighting, more uniform lighting (less hot spots, glare, shadows, and unlit areas), or lighting in the areas where activities are occurring (dressing, reading, meal preparation, or hobbies, for instance).

The point is that there are many areas in the home that could use a little TLC - even all the way up to a major renovation. This time of year as we are paying attention to the inside of our homes while we are getting them ready to receive guests and preparing for more family time, deficiencies in our homes that did not seem so important until now, or ones we had just overlooked or not really noticed, can form the basis for work that we will want to schedule and undertake after the holidays so that we can begin enjoying safer, more comfortable, and more accessible homes - and so that by this time next year these deficiencies will all be in the past.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, CEAC, SHSS, is a licensed Certified Aging In Place Specialist - Master Instructor and best-selling author of aging in place 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.