Planning renovations to age in place can be difficult to coordinate and prioritize.
When I go into someone’s home for an age in place assessment, I start with learning their aging goals, imminent health concerns and timeline they wish to remain in the home for.
Below, I’ll outline a simple process to figure out your renovation priorities.
When there is no time crunch or immediate health needs, we may focus on simple little changes. Things like changing faucets, improving lighting, rearranging furniture, adding handheld shower heads or extra railing are all simple fixes.
When it comes to the larger renovations, we really need to look at priorities. If falls down stairs have been a concern, then moving a basement laundry to the main floor needs to happen quickly. If you just started using a walker and can’t fit it through doorways, then widening the doorways is a priority. And if now you have a wheelchair, getting that ramp to the front door is going to be the focus!
Plan Your Renovations to Age In Place
1. Make a List of Big and Small RenovationsGo through your home and make a list of renovations under and over $200. This separates your list into smaller and larger renovations. If you aren’t sure what renovations you should be considering, an age in place consultation may assist you.
2. Review your Health NeedsFor those living in the home, identify the hazards and barriers in order of urgency that are making it difficult to manage in the home. Is the bathroom most unsafe, then look at bathroom renovations first. If most injuries happened in the kitchen then priorities may shift there. If your loved one having difficulty coping at night then night safety improvements may have to be the priority?
3. Review Renovation ListNow place checkmarks beside each of the small and large renovations that are would improve the barriers or limitations of the home as listed in step 2 above. Now you have a much smaller list to focus your renovation plans on.
4. Plan Your TimelineBased on your budget, maybe plan one small renovation each month and one big renovation every 3-6 months based on the urgency of need. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you won’t complete your renovation list in a week either. Plan a slow and steady approach to continually work on bits and pieces of your renovation list. Doing this will preserve your energy and your sanity too!
Once you complete renovations most urgent related to health needs, then you can start working on the extra things that may make living at home more comfortable. Things like adding voice technology, changing door locks to a fob system, switching a tub to a walk in shower – can all happen at a pace comfortable for you!
When you can plan your renovations to age in place, to happen before a crisis, you’ll never feel rushed. Having to make hasty decisions about what company to hire to make a ramp or picking a walk in shower without fully understanding features that can help you age well – can be more costly in the long run.
You may also want to consult with a real estate agent about what your proposed renovations may do to the value of your home. Removing the only tub in the home will make it less favorable for a young family to buy. And yet, adding pot and pan drawers in the kitchen will increase the value for any future buyers.
You should feel empowered, not overwhelmed when planning renovations in your home. You’ll be relieved when you plan renovations in advance of needing them. There is nothing like feeling at your absolute worst coming home from hospital to now needing to live around a renovation just to be able to get by in your home. A little planning can go a long way!