Well, I have been thinking about two major "age-proofing" projects for my home. First, I have been looking into the cost of installing a walk-in bathtub. Second, I have been giving some serious thought to moving my laundry from the basement up to the main floor. I have been considering getting a stackable washer and dryer or an all-in one washer/dryer machine combo. These are just thoughts right now, but with encroaching years and increased mobility issues, I may soon have to make some changes in order to make maintaining in place doable and most comfortable for me.
Last year my husband spent time recouperating in a nursing home from a broken ankle that he had surgery on. During this time I had a local contractor come in and widen all our doors to 36 inches. We next had our carpeting removed and had luxury vinyl flooring installed. All throw rugs were removed from the floors. Our next project was to have a stairlift installed in our home because we live in a raised ranch with steps everywhere and this enabled us to come and go from the house without worrying about steps. Our last project was to have our bathtub removed and have a walk-in shower installed with a 4 inch step over. We had a built-in seat put in as well as multiple grab bars put in around the shower. We even added a grab bar across from the toilet to make it easier to sit and get up from the toilet. With all these changes we have been able to avoid having to sell the house and we feel that we will be able to "age in place". All in all, these changes were less costly than selling our home and buying a ranch style home. We have been very pleased with these changes and have not regretted the expense.
There's some great ideas shared there, gz! I know this isn't something everyone can do, but I designed and had a new home built with my future mobility and aging in mind.
There are no steps to climb at all...even going from the house to the attached garage.
I have no basement, and my house is all a one-floor, open floor plan.
Instead of a tub, I had a 6' walk-in shower with a built-in seat and large grab bars, but instead of a step over, I had the floor tilted enough that the water goes right down the center drain.
My door frames are wide, my glass-enclosed sunporch is wide.
I have wood floors instead of carpeting, although I have a couple of nonskid toss rugs in my kitchen. I figure someday, if and when I have to leave, this house would be ideal for either a middle-aged couple or even someone with a disability. I haven't regretted the design or expense either.
Well, I thought I would never need grab bars in a tub until I had a unreal accident happen to me.
i was taking a shower in my bathtub ( I hate bathtubs to this day, now) and I had a half bathmat ( another mistake) and when I turned my body to get out, my foot slipped with the bath mat and I was going to fall, you only have a few seconds to decide what to do. I tried grabbing the shower curtain but it slipped thru my hands like butter and literally flew like a pike( fish) out of the bathtub!( I remembered watching Alone as the fish flew out of the water and hit its head on the rocks, man, that had to have hurt, poor fish) I envisioned myself in the exact way flying out, and hit my head on the stone floor, whack, **bleep**!! I laid on the stone floor and waited for my body to regroup. My daughter was yelling " Are you all right?" I couldn't speak right away, my body was still in shock. I told just wait a minute. She slowly opened the door as I sat on the floor. She asked me how I felt, broken bones, nothing I said because it didn't happen I told myself over and over again. Well, I broke no bones! No concussion on my head, Icepack city that was.
It was a Wakeup call- handbars were ordered and now are on the bathtub. A full length bathmat was ordered by my daughter.
Bathtubs can literally kill you, because of no bars anywhere. Two other kids fell in our bathtub, one hit the faucet, the other banged his knees.
Get those bars on your bathtub and don't be a Fish Out of Water!
Ten years ago we downsized to a one story home, removed wall-to-wall carpeting and replaced it with tile and engineered hardwood flooring. We widened the primary bathroom door to accommodate a wheel chair and removed the bath tub and replaced it with a low threshold shower. We installed a monitored security system and recently added a Ring doorbell that allows one to see who is at the door and permits communication without opening the door. Smart plugs that will allow remote control of lighting and other electric devices may be next on the agenda. A constant effort to reduce clutter and trip hazards is an ongoing effort.
These changes were affordable for us do-it-yourselfers (over time), but likely will not be for many others. A kitchen remodel for adaptablity purposes is a huge expense that will likely prevent many from accomplishing it. An effort AARP can make to enable constituencies to make needed changes is most welcome.