A recent study from The Hartford Center for Mature Market Excellence and the University of Southern California found that about 40 percent of baby boomers expect to remodel their homes in the future, but many haven’t factored aging and potential health issues into their plans.
Kerrie Kelly, a member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and a Certified Aging in Place Specialist, has a handful of universal-design suggestions that will help people remain in their homes comfortably for many years to come. “A lot of these design elements become important,” says Kelly. “It’s not just a growing-old thing; there is an enjoying-your-lifestyle component as well.” Read on for ways to make your home safer and more comfortable now and in the future.
Aging-in-place design choices are gaining a higher profile as baby boomers become a larger segment of the population. According to AARP, the majority of older Americans want to stay in their homes permanently and live independently. This demographic change translates into demand for residential designs that anticipate changes in health, vision or mobility, and ensures that homes stay safe, comfortable and aesthetically pleasing.
Related to aging in place is “universal design,” which emphasizes accessibility for all, with no sacrifice in style. Components may be as simple as abundant lighting, lever-style door handles, well-located storage, chair-height toilets, slip-resistant flooring and open plans with plenty of circulation space. The most visible result of aging-in-place design is living space that simply “feels roomier and more open,” says Russ Glickman, whose Maryland company, Glickman Design/Build, specializes in accessible multigenerational and universal design homes.
Some home improvements made to accommodate a resident can be deducted from federal taxes as medical expenses; these may include widening doorways and halls, adding railings and grab bars, and lowering or modifying kitchen cabinets.
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Sources: Realty Times, and The Stovall Team