Aging In Place Home Remodeling Upgrades For People Ages 55-75

Aging In Place Design Upgrades When Remodeling

At Degnan Design Build Remodel our attention to our clients' needs means that we always stay on top of current trends in the remodeling and construction industry. We owe it to our clients to have the latest information on the trends that are shaping our industry.  Often our clients don't consider how the home improvements they're planning today can help or hinder their lives down the road. 

Today, 10,000 Baby Boomers are retiring every day, and as this most independent generation enters their golden years, more of them are opting to remain in their homes as they age. This trend of “aging in place” is growing and homeowners need to consider their future needs if they are 55 to 75 years old and planning on staying in their homes as they age. 

Every home project, from roof repairs to kitchen and bathroom remodels has implications for the future and offers an opportunity to create a home they homeowners can stay in safely and comfortably live in for decades to come.  

A recent survey by HomeAdvisor looked at the latest trends and how homeowners are preparing their homes in the context of aging-in-place.  One interesting element the report found was that the very term aging in place doesn't resonate with homeowners. Basically, they simply don't believe they are “aging” in the first place. But, whatever you choose to call it, the report found that taking a holistic approach to home improvement lays the foundation to help homeowners live better now and later, no matter their current age or objective. 

Here are some of the motivators and projects homeowners are undertaking as the trend towards aging-in-place continues to evolve.

Key Motivators As Reported To HomeAdvisor

Homeowners who take a holistic approach to home improvement is the foundational element for aging in place. Keeping up with their home maintenance and keeping the future in mind when undertaking improvements help homeowners keep their homes in good working order. This not only sets the stage for future projects when the time comes to making specific enhancements, but it also ensures that they are not faced with costly repairs when they're the most vulnerable down the road. Here are a few other key findings:

• Homeowners are completing future-thinking projects without connecting them to aging in place – Survey respondents between 55 and 75 are making improvements that facilitate aging with their motivation being ease of living over safety and aesthetics.

• Life stages influence project selections – While all homeowners cite ease of living as their primary motivation, homeowners in different life stages are completing the same universal design projects for different reasons. 

• Watching aging parents struggle impacts how homeowners view aging in place – Roughly 60% of homeowners aged 55 to 75 report that seeing a loved one struggle to get around as they got older changed their feeling about how they will personally age-in-place.

The trend is real, and as homeowners age, they are taking a proactive approach by keeping their homes maintained and naturally completing future forward renovations whatever their initial motivation.

Aging in Place Starts With A Holistic Approach

While aging is inevitable, aging unsafely, uncomfortably or unhappily isn't. It's to anticipate the improvements homeowners may need to make as they age like grab bars, threshold-free showers, or widened doors. But other home improvements like installing self-cleaning gutters, accessible storage, walkway, plumbing and roof repairs offer easier living in the short term and can stabilize the working order of the home in the long-term. This can provide a good foundation for future aging in place improvements.

When most homeowners think of aging in place projects they think about ramps, stair lifts, and wider door frames as the key to aging in place. While they can become necessary, most survey respondents aged 55 to 75 said the key is taking a holistic approach like simplifying maintenance and landscaping needs, repairing and replacing windows, changing door handles and organizing closets and other storage areas.

Seven Phases to An Age Appropriate Home 

Barrier Free Shower

This curbless show in an empty-nest home was created for aging-in-place. It has no door, grab bars were installed and a shower seat integrated into the design.

Whether you call them aging in place improvements, universal design elements, or any other name, creating an aging appropriate home takes seven specific phases that can be implemented over time, or as the need arises.

Phase 1 - Planning
Improve areas of your home with an eye toward the goals of general maintenance, ease of living, safety, and accessibility.

Phase 2 – Foundational Improvements
Exterior improvements like self-cleaning gutters, repairing the roof, simplifying landscaping and repairing leaks, cracks and mold are the next steps. All of these improvements will reduce maintenance needs as you get older.

Phase 3 – Low-Cost Projects
Swap doorknobs for lever handles, add a programmable thermostat, closet organization and improving lighting are all low-cost improvements that can enhance quality of life.

Phase 4 – Ease of Living Improvements
Install drawers in lower kitchen cabinets, install comfort height toilets and add smart home technology like smartphone adjustable  lighting and HVAC control, security, and smart appliances

Phase 5 – Safety Upgrades
Renovate bathrooms adding a no-threshold shower, locations for future grab bars and a shower seat.

Phase 6 – Examine Accessibility
Shift the master bedroom to the first floor.

Phase 7 – Complete Age Specific Improvements
Add grab bars, ramps, widen doorways, widen kitchen aisles, lower light switches, etc.

By phasing in renovations over time, your home will be ready as mobility, accessibility and safety concerns arise. This approach can spread the cost, eliminate some maintenance issues, and prepare your home to improve ease of living as you age.

At Degnan Design Build Remodel we've been helping homeowners in the Madison, Wisconsin area to update their homes with an eye towards their future needs. Whether it's a remodeling a client's kitchen using universal design techniques, or upgrade their home to include smart technology, we understand the needs of aging homeowners and can help you prepare your home for the future.

If you'd like to learn more, or are planning a home improvement project give us a call. We're always happy to answer your questions and offer suggestions on creating the functional, comfortable home of your dreams.

Client testimonial on aging in place modifications that were done in their home in Madison, WI by Degnan Design-Build-Remodel.