One of the hardest parts about getting older is that our bodies don’t always maintain the health and vitality that we get used to when we are younger. Because of this, many elderly adults will require assistance from their children in order to live out their golden years in comfort. While many choose to remain in their homes with the help professional caregivers, or in facilities, an increasing number of seniors are choosing to move in with their adult children.
Many homeowners are anticipating the possibility that they may need to take care of their parents one day, and are making preparations well ahead of time, sometimes even years before their parents become unable to care for themselves on their own. Many adults with aging parents are beginning to purchase homes with the intent of renovating them to be ‘handicap-friendly’.
Interest in homes that are already (or can be easily made) handicap-friendly has greatly increased in recent years. According to the American Institute of Architects, about 39% of residential architects are expected to see an increase in the demand for such projects by the end of this year.
There are a number of ways that people can renovate their current homes or the homes that they purchase to prepare for their parents joining them, for example, adding walk-showers and changing the height of light switches. Adding or preparing front and back yards for the future addition of ramps has also been a noticeable trend.
If you are considering purchasing a home with the intent of renovating it so that an elderly person may move in with you at a later date, here are some of the things that you should keep an eye out for.
- Look for homes that have an in-law unit: These are separate spaces within the home that offer a private living space for another person. They are often set up as an entirely separate apartment with their own separate kitchen and living space.
- Be aware of the additional space that handicap-safe homes require: Keep an eye out for wide entryways and interior doorways that will be able to accommodate a wheelchair. It is also important that your home has the space needed to make the renovations required for the additional lifts and safety bars that will need to be included in the bathroom and other areas where your parent will regularly need assistance getting to their feet.
- The kitchen is also an important area that will need to be adjusted: Look for homes with pantries or other storage options that won’t be impacted if countertops need be lowered and/or space be inserted under the sink so that a disabled person may roll up to it with their wheelchair.
There are many changes that must occur in a home in order to get it ready an elderly family member to live in the home. Many who are making these preparations rely on the services of a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) in order to insure that they are doing everything that needs to be done to make their home safe for the person they are anticipating taking care of.
Preparing to care for an elderly relative does not have to be stressful! With proper planning, changes can be completed slowly over time, resulting in a home ready for elderly relatives when the time comes.